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Florida1

Government plan divorce property settlement

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Hello,  Client was divorced 5 years ago and the divorce decree awards a portion of Jax police and fire pension as property settlement award.  Now, govt ee is retiring and not sure if can use IDO to claim divorcee's share? An attorney said use IDO, but this is property settlement award, not alimony or child support. Pension representative says use IDO. I think need to get order reforming this property settlement as permanent nonmodifiable alimony and use IDO. Can we do that? I am an attorney trying to help my client. But as a newbie attorney (yet old to defined contribution plans), not sure who to ask about what I do with a government plan question? Where can I go to find answer? Or, who can I reach out to for help in this divorce case?  Thank you, Susan

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First, if you are looking for help in a national forum that concerns mainly federal law, you are not going to help anyone respond by using what appears to be state law/procedure jargon, such as IDO.  I am guessing that "D" stands for domestic and "O" stands for order, but I can give no intelligent meaning to "I" (play with that statement for a while!).  Another difficulty is that your question mixes local pension law and domestic relations law matters, and domestic relations law is state specific.  At least your moniker suggests what state is involved, for those board participants who can relate to Florida.  I also do not think you are giving enough information and context for even someone versed in Florida law to understand you question well enough to respond helpfully, but maybe I am wrong and there are enough magic words to allow translation.

Because you are dealing with a government, the ins and outs of dividing pension benefits will be found somewhere in statutes, ordinances, regulations, rules, policies and the like adopted by the government entity that sponsors the plan, or enacted and applicable to the entity and the plan it adopted.  Is the "Pension representative" a representative of the plan or adopting entity?  Usually governments have someone who is the contact for these matters.  If you can find such a person, they might at least tell you what the relevant legal authority is. This is pretty tough stuff for a newbie.  At least one state bar has issued a warning to its members that they had better know what they are doing before undertaking matters relating to QDROs and farm the QDRO out to experts if they do not.  I think that the number complaints to the bar and malpractice claims inspired the warning,

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