Imagine the look on Judge Anthony Conrad Bellchamp's face at his retirement party.
His wife of fifteen years pulled him aside.
"Judith [... Judge Bellchamp's ex-wife] called. She sends her regrets that she can't attend the retirement party. She also wanted to tell you that she applied for your TCDRS* retirement.
It's a nightmare. But you're not dreaming.
"She said she gets it all. Is that true?
"Wait. There's more. She said she gets all of the ERS** retirement, too. And, apparently, you named her irrevocable beneficiary for every penny in both retirements.
"What are we going to do?"
Pamela Bishop divorced a tormented, physically abusive husband. Now, she and her children are safe. That's a good thing.
Her San Antonio divorce lawyer convinced the Judge to award her 60% of her husband's pension. She slept better at night knowing there would be a little security when she hit retirement age.
He never prepared a QDRO for the pension!
Or so she thought.
Sadly, Pamela was never going to see that money. Her lawyer closed his file when the Judge signed the Decree. He never prepared the pension QDRO.
Malpractice for the lawyer . . . Financial ruin for Pamela . . .
The Judge awarded Amy Palmer $35,167 from her husband's 401K at Hewlett Packard. Amy, a now-single mother of three really needed the money, and she needed it quickly.
Amy's Dallas divorce lawyer waited for six months to send the 401K QDRO to HP for approval. (See our discussion of the QDRO Approval Process). He should have sent it the same day the QDRO was signed.
Surprise . . . Surprise . . . Surprise . . .
Imagine everyone's surprise when the Plan Administrator rejected the QDRO because there was no money in the account!
Amy's lawyer sent the QDRO to HP in six months.
Amy's ex-husband emptied the account much more quickly.