Hernsberger QDRO Law July 2019

Learn How to Get Your Message Across

‘Fierce Conversations’

So often, we talk to our friends, coworkers, and loved ones without actually saying anything. We’ll beat around the bush on important subjects or hesitate to bring up sensitive matters. Global business coach and best- selling author Susan Scott has set out to change that. In her book “Fierce Conversations,” Scott argues that the key to get more out of our personal and professional relationships is to learn to lower our barriers and convey our message honestly. “Fierce Conversations” is one of those works born out of a simple idea with big implications. As the author explains it, “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.” By having the communication skills necessary to create lasting bonds, handle strong emotions, and overcome barriers, you’ll be prepared when crucial conversations present themselves.

with “aggressive.” However, as a master of meaningful communication, Scott has found that it’s important not to force emotions one way or the other. As she observes, “If your behavior contradicts your values, your body knows.” Instead of relying on fake bravado or false modesty, the author argues it’s better that the bravery be genuine. Breaking down those social barriers to be authentic in our conversations takes true ferocity. Scott does more than simply explain why frank and honest communication is important; she gives readers the tools to get there. Having spent years as a business coach, and now as the head of a firm that trains CEOs around the globe, Scott is well-versed in the art of teaching exercises. “Fierce Conversations” is brimming with action items, tactics, and tailor-made examples of how to communicate in every situation, from board meetings to parenting. If you’re someone who likes concrete guides over vague concepts, this book will pleasantly surprise you.

Those who tend to judge a book by its cover may make the mistake of associating the word “fierce”

QDRO Case Studies

An Unexpected Phone Call

Imagine the look on Judge Anthony Conrad Bellchamp’s face at his retirement party: His wife of 15 years pulls him aside and says in a hushed voice, “Judith (Judge Bellchamp’s ex-wife) called. She sends her regrets that she can’t attend the retirement party. She also wanted to tell you that she applied for your Texas County and District Retirement System (TCDRS) retirement.” It’s a nightmare, but you’re not dreaming. Judge Bellchamp’s wife continues: “She said she gets it all. Is that true? Wait. There’s more. She said she gets all of the ERS (Employees Retirement System of Texas) retirement too. And, apparently, you named her irrevocable beneficiary for every penny in both retirements.” The Goals The first goal is to recover that portion of Judge Bellchamp’s retirement that he earned after the divorce. The second goal is to enable Judge Bellchamp to name his current wife as the beneficiary for retirement that he actually owned. The Approach We undertook especially heavy legal research on these problems. Clearly, the retirement Judge Bellchamp earned after his divorce was his separate property and beyond the power “What are we going to do?”

of the court to divide. However, divorcing parties are free to divide separate property by agreement without restriction. Was there a legal avenue to reverse the award of Judge Bellchamp’s separate interest retirement? Further research revealed that the TCDRS had approved a QDRO that required Judge Bellchamp to select a specific retirement option and name a specific person (his ex-wife) as the beneficiary of his retirement. Chapter 804 of the Texas Government Code expressly prohibits a state government QDRO from imposing either requirement on the retiring employee.

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