A $69,594.06 Divorce Decree Mistake

If you see the commercials for legalzoom and other document sellers you might think legal documents are simple or all the same. They may want you to think that, but remember: if there is a mistake in your Woodlands Divorce documents then you will be the one suffering the consequences and not them. Some of these mistakes are quickly discovered and can be fixed, while others remain undiscovered for years and then surface to create unintended results when it is too late to fix them.

One ex-wife recently found herself in court again ten years after her divorce was finalized. The reason: her divorce decree was flawed and a piece of property worth $69,594.06 that she thought was hers was paid out to her ex-husband’s second wife. Let’s take a look at the details.

Husband and ex-wife divorced after forty years of marriage. The divorce decree awarded husband and ex-wife each one-half of the yearly payments from husband’s pension savings plan. Following the divorce, husband met and married second wife. After husband‘s death ten years later, the balance remaining in the pension savings plan was paid to second wife as the designated beneficiary of the account.

Ex-wife filed suit against second wife claiming that, pursuant to the divorce decree, one-half of the plan’s balance was hers. The Court noted that although the decree distributed the pension plan’s yearly payments, it did not provide for the plan‘s balance. Thus, the effect of the defective decree’s language left the balance as undivided community property. As a result, ex-wife became a cotenant of her one-half share of the undivided balance, and sued second wife to obtain her half of the property.

A Costly Mistake

In this case the ex-wife successfully recovered the one-half of the retirement account that she believed was hers. She had to incur additional legal fees and the uncertainty of going to court to do it, however. In addition, the second wife made a critical mistake and accidentally waived a legal argument that may very well have resulted in the court deciding the case in her favor. Keep this in mind if you find yourself having to choose between the $299 legalzoom divorce and an experienced Woodlands Divorce attorney. Contact us today at (832) 592-7913 if you need experienced legal help with your Montgomery County divorce case.

If you would like additional information, check out our free Woodlands Divorce Guide.