I Hate QDROs . . . You Hate QDROs . . . We All Hate QDROs

Posted by William Hernsberger | Apr 24, 2015 | 0 Comments


Her cell phone was glued to her ear when I first noticed her.

“I don't know what to do! . . . Find out! . . . Call someone! . . .”

Finally, she gave up with a sigh, “Do the best you can. I'll be back in the office on Friday.”

I wasn't eavesdropping. She was no more than five feet away. And everyone within fifty feet heard her.

We were stranded in a sea of divorce lawyers. I didn't count them, but there were at least five hundred of us outside that meeting room. Maybe more. The lobby was clearly designed for no more than three hundred. Oxygen was sparse. Good cheer even sparser. We were plowing through day three of a four day seminar and we all needed coffee at the mid-morning break.

I watched out of the corner of my eye as she pocketed her phone and the older gentleman next to her leaned in with a calming voice.

“It never fails, does it? Every time we go to a family law seminar something blows up back home.”

“I just want to scream,” she said half to him and half to herself. “This is the third time they've rejected my QDRO. I don't understand what they want. The Judge said she gets half. What's so hard about that? Why don't they just give her half?”

“QDROs are God's curse on divorce lawyers . . .”

“I feel the same way,” he assured her. “I've often thought that QDROs are God's curse on divorce lawyers. I always hesitate whenever I take in a new case with a retirement. It makes me uncomfortable.”

“God, I hate QDROs.” There, she said it. She finally found the voice to admit how she really felt. I could tell that it bubbled up from somewhere deep inside her. I think she said it before she even realized what she was saying.

“We all hate QDROs . . .

I wish it wasn't such a dirty little secret.”

I knew exactly how she felt. I've been there. We're divorce lawyers. QDROs are in our job description. We aren't allowed to hate QDROs. That would mean we hate family law. We have too much invested to decide we hate family law. And even if we do hate QDROs, even if we do hate family law, we aren't allowed to admit it, are we?

Her catharsis was immediate. You could see it by the look on her face, the straightening of her shoulders, her relaxed breathing.

The older gentleman saw it too. With a sigh of relief he admitted “Honestly? You're not alone. I know half the lawyers at this seminar. Every single one of them hates QDROs, just like you. And just like me. I wish it wasn't such a dirty little secret.” Are you a lawyer who hates QDROs? Contact us. Maybe we can help.

About the Author

William Hernsberger

Judge Hernsberger has practiced family law in Texas for over 30 years as a Board Certified Specialist in Family Law and Judge of the Family Court in El Paso, Texas. He has tried dozens of jury trials to verdict, thousands of bench trials to verdict, mediated hundreds of family law disputes, and a...


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