This is a growing area of legal malpractice liability for family law practitioners. After a divorce, one party claims that her lawyer failed to secure a portion of the other party’s pension. The divorce court has the right to apportion the pension plan, but unless it is done correctly, the apportionment will not take effect. In Illinois, the lawyers must enter a QDRO, a qualified domestic relations order.
In the above-captioned case the client alleged that the lawyer failed to include provisions in the marital settlement agreement necessary to divide a military pension. Unfortunately, the case was dismissed on statute of limitations grounds.
Our advice is that clients need to get moving quickly once they realize that there is a problem. Here the problem is simple and easy to perceive: the client was not receiving one-half of the military pension. Once you determine that there is a problem, you must get moving quickly.
Edward X. Clinton, Jr.