My ex died 5-16-08 while serving in the Army. We were divorced in 1996, with a QDRO stating I was entitled to 1/2 of his army retirement. He was turning 60 in Aug. Army was forcing him to retire as of 6-1-08. They said because he was not officially retired I receive no benefits or retirement. Is this true, I receive nothing?
Let's explain what a QDRO is for visitors to this site that aren't as familiar as you. Then will offer you a few thoughts.
A "QDRO" is a Qualified Domestic Relations Orders. QDROs are critical to resolving many divorces in that this mechanism enables a divorcing couple to divide up a pension plan. Without a QDRO retirement plan assets would not be divisible. Without a QDRO the plan participant would have to report the distributions to the ex spouse in income. Instead, a QDRO results in the ex spouse who is receiving the participant's spouse's distributions reporting the income. A QDRO is an order, judgment, or decree, that acknowledges or creates the existence of right for someone other than the participant/ex spouse to receive some or all of the participant's qualified plan benefits. It is made pursuant to state domestic relations law. It relates to providing child support, alimony, or marital property rights of a spouse, former spouse, child, or other dependent of a plan participant.
OK, with that intro for others, we are We're not familiar with army pension rules. If you have a QDRO, you should be entitled to the portion of his pension that the QDRO. Was there an issue that prevented him from vesting in his pension plan so that there are no benefits? You have to find out exactly what the facts are. You really didn't provide any details as to how long he was in the army, what his pension benefits were supposed to be, what the vesting schedule is for those benefits, etc. You should be able to obtain this information and a clearly explanation of why the army is claiming you are not entitled to any benefits (if that is in fact the case). If you don't make any headway quickly see what dispute resolution mechanisms the army may offer (perhaps there is an advocate or other department to help those with benefits). If in fact you are not entitled to anything, there should be a clear, logical and documentable reason why. If you don't get an understandable and detailed explanation, hire a lawyer. Sorry that we're not familiar more with the matter to give you better advice, but there should be attorneys you can identify that specialize in military legal matters that can help. Don't delay as there may be specific time periods in which you are required to file a complaint or take other actions.
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