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Ex-wife allowed to enter QDRO 20 years after divorce

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In a matter of first impression regarding when a qualified domestic relations order must be filed, the Indiana Court of Appeals held that a woman who waited 20 years after her divorce to have her ex-husband sign a QDRO for division of his pension may still be able to submit it.

Katherine Ryan and Larry Janovsky divorced in 1991. Their settlement agreement included a provision dividing Janovsky’s pension, but Ryan did not present a proposed QDRO for his signature until 2012. He refused to sign it, leading to Ryan filing a verified petition for contempt and rule to show cause, alleging her ex-husband was in contempt of the settlement agreement by not signing it.

The trial court ruled in favor of Janovsky, who argued the equitable defense of laches and waiver and that the statute of limitations had run. Janovsky had not yet received any payments of his pension when Ryan sought the QDRO.

The Court of Appeals, since it had not ruled on this issue before, pointed to rulings from Tennessee and New York to reverse the trial court in Katherine Ryan v. Larry Janovsky, 45A03-1304-DR-145.

“We agree with Janovsky and the trial court that the delay was ‘inordinate,’” Chief Judge Margret Robb wrote, “and we note that Ryan offered no explanation for the extremely lengthy delay in preparing the QDRO. Nonetheless, we cannot agree that the delay has caused the forfeiture of Ryan’s right to a portion of Janovsky’s pension benefits. Ryan’s right to part of Janovsky’s pension benefits arises from the settlement agreement; the QDRO only creates her right to be paid directly from the pension plan. And neither of these rights is yet enforceable because Janovsky’s pension benefits are not yet payable to anyone.

“Allowing Janovsky to retain the entirety of his pension benefits because of the delayed preparation of a QDRO is supported by neither law nor equity: the statute of limitations and caselaw relied upon by Janovsky do not support his position, and the trial court’s order leads to an inequitable result that cannot stand.”

The cause is remanded for further proceedings.  
 

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  1. For many years this young man was "family" being my cousin's son. Then he decided to ignore my existence and that of my daughter who was very hurt by his actions after growing up admiring, Jason. Glad he is doing well, as for his opinion, if you care so much you wouldn't ignore the feelings of those who cared so much about you for years, Jason.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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