How a QDRO Co-Counsel is Like a Plumber

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Thirteen months ago, we bought our first house. It was a bit of a surprise that we were able to, given that my wife is a medical resident making the equivalent of minimum wage and we live in the most expensive city in the United States, short of the Bay Area. But, we pooled our resources, lived lean for a while, and I have been fortunate with a few moves in my career that paid off, which meant we were able to become landowners long before we ever expected.

Of course, buying a home on a budget means you are buying someone else’s problems. We went into this with open eyes, knowing that we were going to have some surprises and lots of renovations, given the extremely dated interior. (Shiplap? Nope. 13 foot high dark wood paneling on every single wall, including the bathroom.) Thirteen months later, we have two rooms renovated, two in progress, and one big kitchen project to go.

My dear, dear wife, after contractors failed us repeatedly in our first year in the home, pushed me into joining a DIY project: renovate the entire upstairs bathroom. She did research on how to level floors and tile around a drop in bathtub and I was assigned plumbing duties. She hoped to complete the entire project in a week. Three weeks later, and I’m just now about to install the shower.

Now, I didn’t grow up with a handy father around. I am good at wrenching on cars, but home improvement is not in my skill set, so I had to spend countless hours learning about pex piping, sharkbites, diamond-tipped circular saws, toilet flanges, wax rings, and vent piping. It was a lot. And I will probably only use it sparingly when doing repairs to our future homes.

See where I am going with this? Most divorce lawyers have to know a lot about a lot. Real estate, business law, taxation, custody, support, domestic violence — family law runs the gamut. And while it is certainly possible for a divorce lawyer to study the nuances of QDROs, federal and state regulations, and plan rules and procedures, by the time you have done a couple of them you will feel both accomplished and perhaps like you have wasted far too many hours of your life on a niche skill set.

Now, if there wasn’t a pandemic and numerous flaky contractors in our past, I would probably have regrets about all the time I wasted on piping and plumbing. As it is, I’m a little proud of that perfectly functioning toilet. Don’t even get me started on the custom ceiling rainfall shower I am building from scratch this weekend.

But would that time have been better spent focusing on my practice? Would yours?

When I go to bar conferences and talk to lawyers in rural areas, I hear from a lot of them that they do their QDRO drafting themselves, but they absolutely hate it. I suspect they are a lot like me and the plumber, feeling like they have no reasonable alternatives to DIY. With today’s technology and my online-first law firm, you do have alternatives: we do retirement division in the seven states I am licensed and insured: California, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and North Dakota. We offer one-time services or a monthly subscription to a QDRO consigliere (advice, plan research, and a library of tools) or co-counsel (full service drafting, pre-approvals, and e-signatures from the parties).

If you have any questions or want to get started today, reach out at 929-43-QDROs.

Willie Peacock
Author: Willie Peacock

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