I need to learn about a QDRO

Posted by William H. Sherman on Jun 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

Question:  My ex-husband said he won't do a QDRO because he said I don't deserve any money because I never worked during our marriage and because he says I have a mental illness and a drinking problem. He says the only thing I did during our marriage was play tennis, drink white wine and have an affair with our neighbor.

But we were married for almost 30 years and I raised our 4 kids without him; he was always working. I never worked, but that was because I stayed home with the kids and I really couldn't get a great job since I never finished high school. I had to drop out because my mother went to jail and my step-father was really creepy.

I married my husband even though I knew he was gay because he was a nice guy and had some money and he said he needed a wife to get promoted at Coca-Cola and then at Newell Brands. He said they didn't like homosexuals. We agreed I'd marry him if we had kids. So we had 4 kids and sent them to Milton High School and one went to Blessed Trinity in Roswell.

Even though we got divorced and the divorce decree says I'm entitled to a QDRO for a pension he has, he's trying not to let me have it. He's angry and doesn't want me to get any money. He thinks I used him just for marriage and money. Truthfully, we really used each other.

Now I need to learn something about QDROs and see if I can get part of his pension because I'm going to need that money to survive and pay for an apartment and food and everything. I don't know what I'd do without the QDRO money and I'm scared and need some answers from a QDRO lawyer.

F.F. in Sandy Springs, GA

Answer:  Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (the QDRO) are the way that many retirement accounts and pensions are divided in a divorce. Many times, in a long-duration marriage like yours, a spouse is entitled to a portion of the other spouse's pension. Generally, the longer the marriage, the greater the share of the pension the spouse is entitled to.

There is no Georgia law that says a spouse must get a share of the pension. Rather, it is part of the bargaining process that takes place between the two parties in a divorce. Of course, retirement accounts and pensions can be quite valuable and therefore they can be highly sought-after.  

The fact that your husband doesn't want you to get part of his pension is basically meaningless under Georgia law. Most importantly, because your divorce decree provides for the splitting of his pension thru a QDRO, it is highly unlikely that he can prevent that from happening. If he doesn't get the QDRO, he could be held in contempt of court by the judge for disobeying the court's order.

Basically, if there was a marriage and during that time a spouse worked and accrued pension benefits, the spouse may not be able to prevent the distribution of retirement or pension benefits using a QDRO.

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About the Author

William H. Sherman

With a professional background that includes serving as a Senior Assistant County Attorney and as an Assistant Attorney General, attorney William H. Sherman has great experience, a broad range of legal knowledge and a proven record of success.  Each of Mr. Sherman's clients gets the full benefit of his experience.  Because attorney Sherman has worked for governmental organizations, large corporations and clerked for a judge, he has handled a wide variety of cases from negotiation and trial to successful appeal. Mr. Sherman is very proud of his reputation as a problem-solver who is always available to his clients.  Active in the community, Mr. Sherman and his wife, attorney Valerie Sherman, support many community organizations, sports teams and charities.  Call him now and let his experience work for you.


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