Getting Income From Retirement Plans After Divorce

QuestionGetting Income From Retirement Plans After DivorceAs a part of my divorce settlement, I am supposed to get a portion of my husband’s retirement plans. I’ll need some of the money to live on, but I’m only 53, so I’m too young to receive retirement benefits. What’s the best way to handle this retirement plan distribution?

AnswerGenerally, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO, pronounced “quadro”) would be used to transfer your portion of your husband’s plan to an IRA in your name. Ordinarily, you can’t take money from your IRA without penalty until you are 59-1/2.

If you need money to live on now, you can elect to have the funds transferred from your husband’s plan directly to you, rather than transferring them to your IRA. You will have to pay tax on the money you receive, but there won’t be any 10% penalty if the money comes from a retirement plan other than an IRA.

If you don’t want to pay all those taxes up front (and who would?) you can choose to have the money sent directly to your IRA. Then you can annuitize the IRA, taking monthly distributions based on your remaining lifetime.

Although IRA distributions before age 59-1/2 are usually subject to a 10% penalty tax, an exception applies if you annuitize the IRA and continue receiving the payments until you are 59-1/2 (and for a minimum of five years).

Comments

  1. debbie didonato says:

    Need to have paper work drawn up to git qudo he paid for the divoice and I have no representation.

    Thanks
    Debbie

  2. verdell rosalez says:

    himy husband is a alcholic and verbally abusive we have been married 8 years he has a retirement plan am i eligibe to get anything

  3. If divorce papers were filed 5 years ago, is it necessary to get lawyer to get his retirement ? And if filed in one county and moved to other do I have to refile?

    • Those legal questions are dependent on the laws of your state, so you’ll need to ask your attorney for guidance. If the divorce was not finalized, in some states the case is dismissed 5 years from filing and you have to start over. To distribute a portion of an employee’s retirement plan to the ex-spouse, there need to be legal documents filed and served on the plan administrator.

  4. Patricia Cooper says:

    My aunt has been married for 28 years to her soon to be ex-husband. He is drawing his retirement and she is 52. Will she be able to receive her portion now to live on or do she have to wait? If I understand it correctly she can now and pay taxes on it. Also is it half of the retirement? His lawyer is saying a third. We are in KY.

    • She will receive a portion of the payment that is currently going to him, and she will not have to wait. I don’t know Kentucky rules, but in many states the spouse’s portion is 50% of the marital portion based on the time he was in the plan while married divided by the time he was in the plan in total. So if he was married for 2/3 of the time he participated in the plan, then she would be entitled to 1/3 of the benefit. This issue should be addressed in her divorce agreement.

    • My husband had me to sign papers while I was sick with my oxygen lever dropping can I take him back to count I signed almost everything to him because I wasn’t in the right state of mind .we divorced in Aug can I still take him back

  5. My husband and i have been divorced since 2006..In our divorce it states that i get half of his 401k from the time we were married up until when our divorce was final.. I have not received anything.. hes going to b quiting his job and moving out of state,how do i get my half before he draws out his plan and leaves state with All of it ???will I have get a lawyer to file the QRDO? Or is there a way I can file for that by myself??my lawyer is no longer in practice as a lawyer she is now a states attorney..Please help i Dont know what to do and Dont think its fare if i have to pay for another lawyer when in my divorce papers it Already says i am entitled to half..

    • Contact the company to let them know that your divorce decree says that you are entitled to half the 401(k) and ask them what additional paperwork they need. They probably have a proforma fill-in-the-blanks QDRO that you and your former spouse can file with them. Having it done professionally is always preferable, but if you can’t afford that, then see if you can do it yourself. But get it done ASAP before something happens — you are at risk until you do.

  6. My ex is retiring in Jan 2014 happy for him.. and happy for me too because I do get some of his retirement I donated to during out marriage.. thou together 20 yrs only actually married 9 1/2. At time of divorce in 2000 he was making 94,000 (now 125,000) he gets 80% of his income for retirement.. how will I figure this out? I worry he will low ball me and I wont know any better.. there was a lump sum done at the time of the divorce in 2000 by an estuary (spell check) for 56,000 but he only wanted t o give me 30,000.. at the time I was working and getting alimony and child support so I choose to wait until her retired.. I became disabled in 2010 and no longer working, I really need to get an accurate number so I wont get low balled.. is there an online calculator to give me some idea? thanks!! Renee

    • Your divorce decree will tell what you are to get. If you were awarded a percentage of his retirement and served a Qualified Domestic Relations Order on the plan administrator, your portion will be paid to you directly by the retirement plan. If not, and your ex has not yet retired, then you’ll need to get that QDRO in place right away. If your decree says simply that your ex will pay you a percentage of his retirement as he receives it, then you will need to request proof of how much that is, such as a copy of the check he receives or a pay stub.

  7. I was awarded half my ex husband’s pension and the QADRO and was signed by the judge. All the paperwork was turned into my ex’s pension plan months ago, my husband is past 55, and I still have not received anything from the pension company. I have called the person handling my QARDO personally on 4 occasions, everytime he tells me I will “hear from him next week.” This has been going on since May 2004 and it is now Sept. 2014. What should I do next?

  8. I have a horrible situation right now….I left my job 11 yrs ago and have received less than $600 in SS a month. I am covered by spouse health ins. Married 40 yrs. 57 & 58…he has always had the control of money and now receives testosterone. Inj that has completely changed him as a human being. He has cognitive problems that he denies and has been inappropriate on the internet. He is either at work or gone, we have no friends or extended family besides 2 grown sons which I an get no understanding from. He acts different around them. The stress is so bad that I feel like I am having a nervous breakdown at times. I am tryinv to work on better pain control but know it does not mean I will earn a living at my age. I always stayed home with kids so my husband could always work as much as he said he had to, only gtting my first full time job at 42, it only lasted 4 yrs…..I have called apts. And they tell me I have to have three times the rent in my income….I have no credit by myself….my husband has tied all money in property or his 401k..He even forged my name on my last 20k and put in his 401k instead of the small one I had started at 42…..I am lost and feel he has thrown me away….I am alone 99%of my life……my question….Does a judge usually award alimony with part of 401k? How does someone like me even be able to live in an apt if I have no income enough to qualify…he refuses to talk to me about most every topic but finances is out of the question…..i wonder sometimes if he is waiting to retire, in about 5 yrs…..will he have to give me alimony then? I. have no money to see an attorney. Thank You for your time in reading this.

    • Alimony rules differ from state to state, so you’ll have to discuss this with an attorney in your locale.

      • Do you know of any situation where retirement funds such as pension and 401k plans have to notify the beneficiary of any money that has been moved? Are there irrevocable provisions owners of these plans can put in place for spouses who stayed in marriages as long as 40 years? I made the home a comfortable place for my spouse and children neglecting my own career needs, even after going through a 2 yr college. I am afraid my spouse is having cognitive problems and will not seek help. I have tried to get him to discuss our finances but keeps asking me what I am talking about. I am afraid he is going to make bad financial decisions. And the personal stress associated with this is overwhelming for me. Thanks for your answer.

    • You are entitled to 50% of his pension, 401k’s and IRA’s that were earned during your marriage. You are also entitled to spousal support for 1/3 of the number of years your were married. If you were married 21 years you would get 7 years spousal support. You can ask the court for emergency funding to get your set up in an apartment too. DON’T settle for less.

    • Judy Anstess says:

      Done…I wrote you a reply at the bottom. It is a long one and that is why I am telling you to look down the page..Judy Anstess. janstess86@gmail.com

    • I am disabled and did not take Medicare because my husband has really wonderful insurance. We are on the brink of Divorce. I’m scared I can’t make it alone on what SS pays me. I’m 65 years old and have
      not an idea what he makes per week. I know it must be plenty enough to keep us going cause on his yearly income papers I noticed it was over 75k. He has a large amount in his 401k. Why I’m telling you
      all this?
      He tells me ” I won’t get one red cent from him he’s already spoke to his attorneys”. Can this be? I’m so afraid. I don’t have any family and no where really to go. And I just don’t think it’s fair because I have put my share in this house just as he has, not as much as him but as much as I could. Not to mention keeping the inside clean and decorated, for his so called associates to visit. Isn’t that just Dandy?
      I have rheumatoid arthritis. I fell and broke my neck many years ago it fused itself back together. When the arthritis got into it I had to have surgery. This is not a pity story, Please believe me. I’m only looking for advise. Why, because he beat me up 3 nights ago and my right arm looks like it’s been run thru a thrasher. Thank you all for listening to my complaints. May God watch over all of you…..Vicky.

      • I don’t know what the laws are in your state, but I doubt they are as your husband states. The worst person to take legal advice from is your soon-to-be ex. Consult with an attorney right away to find out your rights.

      • you have many rights……and yes you are usually entitled to half of whatever he has in retirement plans

        you should be able to draw half of his SS if you were married more than ten years

        dont believe a word he says……you HAVE to get a good lawyer

        you can pay the lawyer with the proceeds you receive from his retirement and your current checking and savings account

        get an attorney and get moving……they can find where he has moved money to if he claims its all gone

        dont sit there and take that anymore…..GET MOVING

  9. Is there any way to get pension money that was awarded to me through divorce before my ex an I are 55

  10. Julio Lepe says:

    How long after the attorney receives payment to process QDRO does it take. Should I be expecting a check soon, I made payment with attorney three weeks ago. My marriage ended because I wasn’t making enough money , to see her career grow and have move seven times. My work was not priority since I started a painting business, she was in the Air Force , I moved so much was hard to start over a new business. I did it again in Utah moved entire house for her and children started new business , only this time she got a high tech job, again making good money and good benefits. One day upset about money she asked me how long I had been saving and how much I had. I kind of laughed and wonder are you serious everything I made I had to spend on us, The only money set aside is the Social Security money but I don’t have a retirement fund 401(k) or IRA. All she needed was a reason to get out .so one day her mom ,sister ,father and brother in law got upset with me for complaining at Bear lake one night, that in 3 days she called from attorney’s office to finalize our marriage. I cried like someone ripped my heart out we were married 18 years and she took my family, wife, kids, home, insurance, benefits, few friends we had . I lost everything she wanted even more. Why can someone make a law that says first you prove you need a divorce , second you prove you tried everything including hrs of counseling to reconcile , and third the separation can be allowed once both have given a fair chance to act civil and respectful. Work on the differences don’t say they are irreconcilable until there is proof. My ex took me out like I was a dirty filthy painter lowlife .im so much more than that .So I guess I’m ok and now I’m better my crying has almost stopped I still miss them. They even took my dog. I only see my kids for a few hrs 3 times a week. I almost killed myself with a knife to my throat once it made me so mad. Why can people learn to respect and love their spouses more. thanks for letting us pour our heart out and get your God given gift to help us , the victims.

    • If the QDRO has been prepared and filed with the court, then it shouldn’t take long for the court to process, depending on the backlog. But if the payment you made was just to begin the process, then the paperwork would have to be prepared and submitted to the company, which would request any changes they want, and then look at it again, before it is approved for filing. That back and forth could take several months.

    • I am sorry! I hope you are doing fine. I feel your pain, you know… I really do. There are lot of things for you to do in life and ease your pain, don’t try to hurt yourself, love everybody, especially your enemies, forgive them. Do you believe in Karma? She will have her turn to pay back someday.

  11. Lisa feerando says:

    I have been divorced for 4 years now and was awarded half of my ex’s retirement but the attorney wanted $500 more dollars to fe the paperwork for getting the retirement and I just don’t have that kind of money … Is there a time limit on filing the paperwork and can I do it myself ?

    • The retirement administrator probably requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. You can contact the plan administrator to see if they have any templates available for you to use.

    • i was divorced in 1994,was married to him for 20 years and have 3 children with him,I was granted part of his retirement in the divorce aggreement,I just found out he was laid off with the company in 2010,and took lump sum in his retirement,I have not been notified of anything,i heard he put the money some place not to be touched until now he is starting to draw funds from it.Is it failure to comply by court order by him not paying me my part.He has known all along where i have lived,but i don’t have his address or any info about him,this was a very abusive marriage and terrible drawn out divorce so when it was over,i have tryed my best to stir clear of him,so what should i do,i am disabled and on a very fixed income and cannot afford to hire an attorney.

      • You can’t afford to let him keep the money, so talk to an attorney. Many give a free first consultation. You should have filed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to protect your interest in the retirement plan, but it isn’t too late to get your money, just more legal hassle. Take action now — you need the money.

    • IT SHOULD NOT COST 500 FOR THE QDRO

      The paperwork is not complicated……the plan administrator has an obligation to assist you in many cases…..

      Press them for assistance……its your money

  12. I live in Seattle, WA and divorce was final on September 17, 2014 . My ex husband’s 401k and pension were divided 50/50. Please advise me on how I may give these benefits back to my husband to pay for our daughter’s education, wedding,etc. He absorbed ALL of the debt, provided a car and alimony ! He also paid for the legal fees ! We have known each other for 30 years, and I want to give back what he rightfully earned . Thank You for your time ! ~ Lee in Seattle

  13. I have been Divorced for four yrs now & Our settlement was made my our Att’s. I have all the paper work etc stating the QDRO’S but my question is, how safe is it to have this done on line? I see even on this site advert to do your QDRO’S for you for a certain amt $$ ie., (299.00).
    Also is there a time limit this needs to be done?, I was adv by my Att no time limit. But my ex-husband & I just turned 65yrs but he has not retired yet.
    Thank you!

    • If the page is secure where you post your information and the people running the website are competent, then you could certainly do a QDRO online. Get the QDRO in place right away, so that if he retires or dies you get your benefit without having to go to court and fight for it.

  14. Part of our divorce settlement is to split my husbands QRDO, we have not gotten our final divorce degree finished but agree to the split with both attorneys. We both would like to cash it out for living expenses. If we wait until the finalization, we understand there will be a extra fee. How do we split it and determine taxes? do we let them take it from the top. $50k

    • Your husband does not have a QDRO, he has a 401(k) or pension or other retirement plan. You use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to split his retirement plan. The QDRO could provide that you get all the funds in the plan, and that they go to you directly rather than into an IRA. You would have to pay the income taxes on them, and then your divorce agreement could provide that you’ll give him the net amount realized after taxes.

  15. I’ve been married for 21 years we have four children together, one is an adult now but I got three minors ages 16, 11, 10. What are my legal rights? I live in Texas. He has a 401k which he’s had the whole entire course of our marriage, would I be entitled to some? Would I be able to get alimony? Does he have the right to say I can’t leave Texas? Our kids want to live with me and have told him but he wants them to have to stay with him. What can happen? I’m worried. I appreciate any help y’all can give me, thanks.

  16. My husband blind sided me with a divorce and closed all the accounts on our children and me. He was rewarded a portion of my IRA for me getting the house. It states that I have to have my attorney do a QDRO to get him the money. I spoke to Wells Fargo who handles my account and they said he could just open up a IRA account with them and I could fill out the paperwork and send them my final divorcee degree signed and I would be good that way and not be taxed. My CPA told me the same thing. Is this accurate? I just want to make sure so I don’t get taxes. My attorney wants to charge me $1500 to prepare the QRDO and as a prior stay at home mom looking for a job and him closing the accounts, I don’t have that extra money to spend to have my attorney prepare this.

  17. I’ve been divorced since July 3rd 2014 and I’m entiled to half the 401k. I can’t seem to get anything accomplished from my attorney. 2 months after the divorce I had a meeting with him to go over some things in our decree including the 401k. Its been another 3 months now and I talked to him just before Thanksgiving; he said he was going to call my ex’s attorney the first thing Monday morning to see what’s going on with the 401k. I’ve called him everyday for the last two weeks now and he won’t return my phone calls. I’m wondering if this is something I can do on my own or if I should just wait until he decides to do what he’s paid to do? I really don’t want to hire another attorney; is something I should worry about? It’s been 5 months and nothings been done since we signed the decree. I feel I’ve waited long enough, but if I’m in no danger of losing my half then I’d feel a bit relieved since it seems like the waiting game isn’t ending any time soon.

    • You are not in danger of losing your half, but it will be a hassle if your ex dies and you want to get your half. So you need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order in place as soon as possible. Ask your attorney to recommend someone to you who specializes in drawing up QDROs.

  18. No longer comatose says:

    I am presently going through a very difficult divorce. I have been married for 23 years. The relationship has been emotionally abusive (most often controlling through the use of money and threats) and has ended with physical aggression (no broken bones so this means almost nothing in the courts). My husband is a narcissist and shows signs of psychopathic behavior. If you know of these disorders, they can be some of the most harmful emotionally abusive situations. I am currently receiving counseling for this. As my eyes are opening and I am finding my strength and my brain again (coming out of my ‘coma’), I am really struggling with, what seems to be, the unfairness of divorce in our judicial system. I have supported my husband and his career for 23 years. He went from an income of 30K initially when we were married to 5 or 6+ times that amount plus stock options and bonuses over the years- all while I took care of everything short of income and finances. He demanded full control of all our money. While we are in a state that is no fault and all of our current assets are split 50-50, please help me to understand why alimony is based on my current living expenses which total 1/5th of his income. He will keep the other portion to do with as he pleases which includes, but is not limited to, adding to his future retirement funds that I will have no access to. My spending is such because my children and I have lived with a man that refused to spend and share his income. He and I both agreed to my staying home with our children. I also spent several years homeschooling my children and they are currently in college on academic scholarships. I could have easily been the one who became successful in a career outside of our home and that would have put me in the position to earn the income he is now making and allowed me to invest in my future. Instead, after supporting him, I am now 50 years old, out of the work force for years, and having difficulty finding a job that would even pay 1/5th of what he earns. And I can no longer put money away for my future. I will continue to live in a financial situation that was less than fair (based on our income) and not have the extra 150K+ that he will have to do with as he pleases. How, in any way, is this just?

    • Is there a limit on how long a woman can wait before she draws the money from the 401 account? After 29 years, we were divorced in 2008 and she still hasn’t taken her share. Is there a point where she takes so long, she forfeits it?

    • the judge will tell you that you are entitled to the same standard of living as he is post-divorce….

      so dont accept the lie that your alimony should be based on your current living expenses

      a good attorney is aware of this…..get one….they are worth a lot…just do your homework and know what they will charge you beofre you sign up with one….

      look out for yourself lady…you ex certainly will not in most cases

      despite what everyone says in the beginning…divorces are rarely amicable in the end….its just the way it is

  19. Judy Anstess says:

    I just went through the same type of situation. I am also on disability. I just up and left everything. The only difference was that he had been giving me $800 to help me live on my own for the last 3 years. Then one day I get a knock on the door and was served with divorce papers. Well, he makes close to $90,000 a year and of course could afford an attorney. No attorney would give me the time of day without at least a $5,000 Retainer Fee. I had no money for an attorney. I did my whole divorce myself just from reading everything online. There is a section that states if you do not have the funds for court fees, they will wave them, so I filled out that paperwork (that I also found online) followed the very easy instructions and all of my fees were waved. Then when my exes attorney sent me a “STIPULATED JUDGEMENT” (which is just what he thinks he should pay you..it was a joke as far as I was concerned) Anything that is written in a STIPULATION is law, if you sign it. For example: My ex wanted to only pay me $800 a month for Alimony, when he brings home almost $7200 a month, and ONLY UNTIL HE REACHES RETIREMENT AGE! I know my husband well enough to know that he will not retire at 65. So I just took the STIPULATED JUDGEMENT that they were offering me and rewrote it and added what I WANTED! The main thing I changed was that I wanted $1500 a month Alimony UNTIL HE “ACTUALLY RETIRES”..(not when he reaches retirement age) Because the divorce was filed in California, I (by California law) was untitled to 1/2 of his 401-K, and half of the EQUITY in our home..(I did not want the house) We also owned out rite a condo in Las Vegas (which is in the ghetto and wasn’t worth much) I also wrote into “MY STIPULATION” that because my husband was only willing to give me $11,900 from the EQUITY (which is about $12,000 less than it was worth) and for that reason I would take in trade for not giving me actually HALF of the which should have been around $26,000, that I would take the condo off his hands because he didn’t want it anyway. I used no attorney for anything and here is what I ended up getting 1) $1100 a month alimony instead of $1500
    2) $121,000 in my own IRA (which is half of his 401-K) Make sure that you read about using a QDRO..They are the only one that can do the transfer of your husbands 401-K..VERY IMPORTANT! I have sold the condo for $15,000 from the sale of the condo (which I did not owe taxes on because it was paid off and I sold it for way less that what we ought it for..So for someone not knowing anything about divorce law, I think I did very well. YOU CAN DO THIS TOO. You can live on your alimony and your disability alone, without touching the 401-K..So, write it in your STIPULATION that your husband is to pay for the QDRO because he makes way more money than you. You should also talk to a financial advisor about wjere you should put you part of his 401-K..They will help you invest it and it will draw interest. When you do have to use some of it, you will only be taxed on the amount you use, which shouldn’t be much because you are in a low tax bracket..My name is Judy and if you have a question about where you should start looking for what you need to do to start, feel free to email me. I will point you in the right direction..for no charge at all. I was in the same situation and no one would help me either. Here is my email: janstess86@gmail.com
    Good luck to you..Judy

    • Judy, I have been reading this site and see that you are one knowledgeable person,. I need some advice, and can’t afford an attorney. I have been on disability since 2010 and get 976 a month and awarded spousal support last October and just learned he is leaving town. We are not divorced yet, He has the marital home, and is selling everything, What do I do? Also he will be retiring. Help,
      Daisy.

      • You must get legal advice right away. Contact the clerk’s office at the courthouse to see what options are available to you for low cost assistance.

        • Thank you for your reply. I did as you said, I went to J & D who set the spousal support, and to Civil Court and they as much as looked at me and said “What do we care”? I can’t afford an legal advice, he’s paid thousands for an attorney who guides him. I know in i right to the marital assets but can’t seem to stop him selling them. Even a court hearing i can’t prove it they say. This system is so messed up for women that are cast aside, Even legal aid can’t help me, Not unless violence happens. So in short this man walks away with thousands of dollars to give me what he thinks I deserve and i rent a room the rest of my life. at an age of 60. Who would of known? I sure didn’t. I wish I could tell ever women, beware, save money, and wait until the day when you are cast away like the trash one day. I sure hope soon, I find a way to learn something from someone who can guide me, October is fast approaching, and soon, he will divorce me on his terms because i have no one. How sorrowful. Thank you for answering me, and if you think of anything, let me know.
          Daisy.

  20. Judy Anstess says:

    My divorce was final November 13, 2014..Because it was a California divorce, and we were married for 30 years, I was entitled to have of the equity in our home, half of his 401-K (apx $121,000) and a condo that was supposed to be Quick Claimed to me only..He has been paying the alimony, but has not signed the Quick Claim Deed yet and it was ,ailed to him on December 3, 2014. He still has not contacted his appointed QDRO to transfer my half into my IRA. He will not answer any phone calls from me or texts either. I have left at least 8 messages on his company cell and he will not call me. I had no money for an attorney and did it all myself and got everything I wanted except for $400 more in alimony. What is my next step in getting him to full fill his Court Ordered Divorce Decree? Am I going to have to file a CONTEMPT OF COURT? Or garnish his 401-K because he isn’t doing anything about signing the Quick Claim Deed and has not been in touch with the QDRO? I hate to be mean, but I have to look after myself. I am living on less than $2,000 a month and he makes close to $7,200 a month. Hope you have an answer. Oh, is there a time limit on how long he has to contact a QDRO? Thanks for any help..Judy Anstess

    • If your divorce papers say that he is to sign certain documents and he refuses, then you can ask the court to sign a representative, called an elisor, to sign on his behalf. If he is not taking steps to begin the QDRO, you should take that into your hands and do so.

  21. I’m divorced. I was rewarded 1/2 my husbands pention during the years we were married. He took a buy out with the company. He is 57 . I’m 50 and will be receiving my ” check ” with in the month. Can I cash it? Do I have to give it to a financial advisor ? And why ? If i have to give it to him can I keep some? I don’t understand… I never intended it to be my retirement money and I could use it now .

  22. My best friend has been divorced for several years. According to her divorce, and Qdro agreement, her husband agreed to have his pension continue on after his death until she died. At some point he signed off on this agreement with his retirement company. They are now telling her she is only covered till his death. Can they legally change a divorce agreement like this??
    Thanks so much!

    • If the QDRO provides that her portion is segregated from his, then hers should survive his death. If not, then you’ll need to get an attorney to review it to see what it does say. A QDRO and divorce agreement cannot bestow greater benefits on either party than the plan itself allows.

  23. Sandra Gowettt says:

    I am divorced ! I have retirement available to me & half to my ex spouse? He has no qdro on file. Will this hold up my half?.

  24. I received money from my first husbands retirement plan 25 years ago and I rolled it over to a Traditional IRA in my name. If I were to get a divorce in my second marriage, would my current husband be entitled to any of this money from my first husbands retirement plan? I have not contributed anything to this during my second marriage.

  25. Gail McCann says:

    My sister was awarded a portion of her ex-husbands retirement when they divorced over 20 years ago. Last year she found out that he retired 5 years ago and she hadn’t gotten a cent. She hired an attorney and after a long process, she was awarded the amount due. He paid her $35,000 and then sent her a 1099 form. She doesn’t feel and really can’t afford to pay taxes on this as a windfall amount. Is there any way for her to just pay on the portion that she should have been getting each year for the last 5 years.

  26. My wired signed. Our divorce papers and then ripped them into pieces… can I still use that contract with her signiture Even though she ripped it up? I could rely use some guidance

    • You are not divorced until your paperwork is filed with the court and approved. If you can’t piece the divorce papers back together, you’ll probably have to get her to sign another copy. If she agreed in court to sign, then you can compel her to do so. Otherwise, you and she will have to negotiate a settlement and write it up into a document that she signs. Check with your attorney to see if there’s anything else that you can do under your state’s laws.

  27. april thornton says:

    My mother recently divorced my stepfather back in June or July. During mediation he agreed to pay her like 1000 dollars a month that was supposed to get my mother through March when her pension was gonna kick in when she turns 60 at the end of march.and come to find out she was not able to receive her pension at 60 and has to wait until she 62 the lawyer did not verify the information and now my mother is left with no income as she was a housewife what is there if any to do in a situation like this can she take a lawyer to court. it’s even hard for her to get insurance she went from having really good insurance through the railroad to trying to fight with Obamacare in order to receive insurance and come to find out she couldn’t afford it she’s had a nervous breakdown due to this and I’m trying my best to find out if there’s anything we can do to make sure that she gets what she supposed to get. Can the case be reopened? Where would we start.

    • Ask an attorney what the procedures are for reopening a case when there was misinformation given on which the parties relied.

      • April Thornton says:

        So the original lawyer isn’t returning my mother calls. Should she get a new lawyer and if it was processed in Atlanta ga does she have to get a new lawyer in Atlanta or can she get one where she lives now in Chattanooga tn. Thanks for your help we are lost. She paid the lawyer 3,000 retainer fee plus. And she’s now needing government assistance.

  28. Ann Trinca says:

    Been divorced from my ex husband since 2002. In the divorce agreement it states that I will receive my Majauskas share of pension plans commenceing date of divorce action. It also states I will be responsible for the QDROs. He is still not retired and I haven’t done the QDROs, is it too late?

  29. Vicky Mackey says:

    Hello….My ex-husband and I have been divorced for 15 years. He was self employed and had no retirement. I worked for the state of CA so I had PERS retirement. He was awarded half my retirement for the 20 years we were married and of course we were told to do the QDRO. Because I had nothing to gain I didn’t feel it behooved me to make the first move. He waited until this last year to finally do it and received it. Today at work I was whining about my taxes and my co-worker asked me if I could claim what I lost in my retirement on my taxes since I helped pay into it. Which got me to thinking…can I???

  30. Hi ,
    I have been divorced from apr 2012.was married for 14 years. I didnt have the money to pay for the QDRO .He will be retiring in 10 years. what do I need to do to get the pension form him ,since my work dont have a pension plan . or is it too late …if not where do i go to file
    please help

    Estele in california

  31. iris M Diaz says:

    Hello, I have been divorced since 2008, I was awarded half his pension when he retires, will someone call or write and let me know when this happens?

  32. I have been divorced for five years from my ex after a 22 year marriage. I was stupid and didn’t get a lawyer and tried to just use a paralegal and myself. He ended up getting almost everything in the divorce. I wish I had a do-over but since I can’t, it is what it is. Anyway, I had heard that I am still entitled to get part of his retirement. While he were married he worked for the city for 12 years. Now it’s longer but I would only be entitled to 12 of it. I read my divorce decree and I can’t find anywhere, where it says this. Does it have to be written down somewhere to be able to receive it?

  33. My wife and I are getting a divorce. As part of our agreed settlement, she gets a portion of my 401k. We’ve agreed to have the QDRO take more than her actual share to allow us some cash to pay off some bills and give us a start. We aren’t sure how we get the cash. Does the QDRO specify that part of it is to be awarded in cash or is that something she does after the money is segregated to her name?

    • In the QDRO she will specify the amount that she wants to be paid to her in cash. They will deduct 20% for federal withholding and possible some state withholding also, and remit that amount to her. The rest will go into her IRA. When she files her taxes, she’ll report the amount of the distribution and the withholding taxes, and pay any additional income taxes that are due. If she decides she wants more cash and makes withdrawals from her IRA, those funds will be taxed and there will be a 10% federal penalty for early withdrawal if she is under age 59-1/2, and possibly state penalties as well.

  34. I was a house wife for 17 years got a divorce then ended up disabled I receive SSI Disability. Now I’m 57 years old my ex is 61 years if I take half of his pension will I lose my SSI in calif

  35. Hello, I have a question…Im going through a divorce and I have been married 10 years. He destroyed all my belonging and I basically have to start over. clothes, shoes, etc…I was told I can get half of every thing he’s has with isn’t much…I want 401k, Pension, and IRA and alimony. We live in Missouri. What can I actually get RIGHT now so I can live off of it till im done with school. I’m only work part time and he has been on his job 18 years and makes 80,000+ yearly…Were I only make 15,000 to 20,000 yearly…Can I get 50% of the 401k now and if so whats the penalty for taking it now. And I want alimony to…Please help

    • Talk to your attorney to see what the rules are in your state. For you to get your share of the 401(k), there will need to be a divorce decree or written stipulation, and then a Qualified Domestic Relations Order prepared. You can ask in the QDRO that your funds come to you, and you’ll owe taxes but no penalty.

  36. Vanessa says:

    If I use my share of the retirement fund to pay off my student loans will I still have to pay taxes on it?

  37. In my case my husband is trading a paid off home for maintenance.
    Thinking he was giving me a very good deal he was furious i asked for 50% of the Tier 2
    portion of retirement and then rec ended the offer.
    i make 15% of his salary and a paid off home is music to my ears..
    but as a woman a par-time employee in the fitness industry i don’t see my income growing in my old age as I am now 52 and well on my way to retirement. to which there is NONE due to the fact he was suspended from his job for drinking for almost a year and the 401 k paid the remaining balance on the home.
    He seeing the home as his retirement too. and asking for more has infuriated him.

  38. elizabeth says:

    How can I transfer my portion of my ex husband’s pension back to him? We are too young to draw it out. The portion that is mine has been set aside and still growing and I’d like to give it back to him. I have no idea how to go about this. Washington State.

    • Talk to a financial planner about whether you’ll have enough when you retire if you do this. Then talk to an attorney. I don’t think there is a way to do this without it being a taxable gift, but you can explore that.

  39. I have a question about pensions. My husband and I are going through a divorce. We were married for over 20 years and he worked for the Department of the Interior. I gave up my career to follow him around the country and raise our family. Am I entitled to part of his pension? If so, how do I go about filing for it? My divorce lawyer is not familiar with it and said that it’s my responsiblity.
    Thank you

    • Are you saying that your attorney doesn’t know about how pensions are divided in your state? That can’t be the case. Ask him/her again. If not, contact the Dept of the Interior to get information about how their plans are divided in divorce.

  40. Bridget Capawanna says:

    Somebody help me? i have a QUARDO been divorced since 1995 Ex husband disappeared
    i found out he retired from US Post Office about 3 years and he would do anything to not pay
    a penny to myself and our daughter. I spent a lot of money on an attorney 3 years ago and he was no help
    he took my money and said he cant find him
    I am entittled to this money but its a nighmare to get answers i live in New Jersey

    • If you were awarded part of his retirement plan and you had a QDRO prepared and served on the plan administrator, and it was accepted by the plan administrator, then you will get payouts directly from the plan administrator in accordance with that QDRO.

  41. Donna Mapp says:

    I’m contemplating on getting a divorce soon. My husband job went out of business and he had worked there at least 35 yrs. I know that he had a 401k plan but now when calling the company that handles it says there is a balance of $0. I’m thinking he has his money rolled over into his pension plan but how do I go about getting this information? Will I be entitled to receive some of it and what steps should I take to find out. He’s retired and I’m 54 yrs old with 16 yrs daughter. I don’t want anything from the divorce but what me and my daughter compensated for. Already receiving ssi for her. Need advice on what I should do asap

  42. pamela king says:

    My friend was married to a military spouse for 13 years. She did not as for half his retirement. Can she amend her decree to ask for half his retirement. She has been divorced over 10 years
    She has received alimony and child support but now the child is over 18 years old.

    • If the military retirement wasn’t mentioned in the divorce agreement, it may be an overlooked asset that can be considered now. If she gave up her right to it in the divorce agreement, then that’s probably a done deal.

  43. I have been divorced for twenty years and was married twenty years i am in disability and i am 60 years old i was just,reading my divorce papers and notice that it says that i should get half of his 401K its been twenty years can i still get it. I also saw that he was suppose to pay child support and i never got anything can i still get that.

  44. I have been divorced since 2012 and 401(k) was to be divided in half. It was but I had no idea I had to do something with it. I thought the companies would just roll it over. My problem is this, my ex left me with a ton of debt that he was supposed to pay. He dropped off the face of the earth and owes me over 40k plus. I want to declare bankruptcy to clear the debt so I quit getting harassed. I understand that my 401k is considered exempt from this mess but…is it still exempt if it’s just sitting there and not actually in something making money?

    I have been living with my parents for over 3 years and I was going to use some of it to move away and start over…the problem is that I’m afraid if I put it in something right now I won’t be able to touch it for a long time. I can’t stay where I am much longer so I must have access to some of that money.

    • Money doesn’t “just sit there”, it is invested in something. If you filed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to divide the 401(k), then it is either in the 401(k) plan but earmarked for you, or it is in an IRA in your name. If you didn’t file a QDRO, then you’ll need to do so to secure your portion in your name. As for the bankruptcy, we can’t give legal advice, you’ll need to talk to your bankruptcy attorney about how 401(k) and IRA assets are treated in your state.

  45. I got divorced a couple of years ago, can I still do the quadrophonic if half of her pension was awarded to me? Is there a statue of limitation for filing, is what I want to say.

  46. Yes I was married 30 years, and now we worked out a plan without me having to serve him. now he says he will quit his job if I have him served. Now he is giving in my checking 1400.00 amonth, he is supost to be paying 2,000 amonth. So should I have him served now before he retires. And how will his work know where to send money? And once he retires then what, do I have to go to ss office, I really not up for that. How does it work after he retires. J.

    • You need to talk to an attorney right away. If he won’t pay you voluntarily, the only way to enforce your support agreement is to take legal action. But first find out how much you’d get if you took legal action, since it may not be as much as the plan you worked out. If he is of retirement age, then he certainly could retire, but he might still owe you support, since he’d have to have some sort of income to live. Once you are both of retirement age, you can apply for social security benefits online.

    • wow…please dont fall for that….he will in all liklihood not honor that agreement……

      he is also likely trying to protect other assets/retirement fund, etc.

      without a divorce…you have no leverage to get your share of these assets

      a good divorce attorney will advise you to file so you have legal protections you are entitled to

      theres also a chance hes moving money around or spending it on other assets and hiding them

      dont walk around blind…..get an attorney and get moving

  47. After 26 yrs my husband & I got divorced in Delaware. He was retired from the US Post Office. I knew I was entitled to part of his pension then but didn’t take it. He died last December. I am re-married. Am I still entitled to any of his pension?

    • If you were awarded part of his retirement in your divorce decree, then it is yours. If you gave it up in your divorce decree, then it is not yours. If it wasn’t mentioned in your divorce decree, it is an overlooked asset that will need to be divided now.

  48. D Joyce says:

    I have a finalized divorce from 1995. My ex was to receive half of my retirement accounts and pensions. I have 2 different pensions. A Quadro was filed at the tine of the divorce but one pension was left out. The divorce states nothing about how to handle remarriage. The pension says it is my choice whether this continues after remarriage. I am handling this filing myself and am wondering who needs to sign off on this?

  49. Hi my ex and I agreed that we wouldn’t ask for assets from either’s 401k plans and they weren’t mentioned in the divorce agreement. We have been divorced for three years and now he’s hired a lawyer to go after mine and is stating that he never knew about the 401k I have. I have no proof that he knew or that we had a verbal agreement. Can he do this?

  50. Hello, just wondering if someone could answer a few questions. My ex and I were divorced and there is a Q D R O in place. I have made several attempts to find out how much was in his pension when we divorced, and has it been collecting interest all this time. Recently I got ahold of the administer of the plan but they told me they cannot tell me anything until my ex is 3 months to the age of 55 (i’m turning 60 this year).
    1. Why can’t they tell me how much was in the account 5 years ago.( I live in Minnesota) so could or can i put this into an account that would of gave me interest? Or why haven’t they offered this info to me?
    2. Should they have put this into an interest bearing account?
    3. Why do I have to wait until he is 3 months out to find out how much is in the account currently?

    Thank you in advance for your help in this matter!

    Monna

    • one more question, at the age of 60 will i owe taxes?

    • Most pension plans do not allow you to withdraw the funds or receive lifetime monthly payments until the employee is of retirement age. Rather than withdrawing the funds when he reaches retirement age, consider opting for the lifetime payments. That will provide you lifetime security and a far better return on your money than you would get in an interest bearing account.

  51. my husband makes about 53000. a year – he has no credit cards, no car payments (we have always drove older cars that were paid for with cash) he says he can’t pay me alimony (I make 15000. and have a lot of health problems to which I see pain management monthly) believe me – if I could go back to work full time and do this myself, I would. NOT that this is smart, its just my personality.
    But now at 54 he has decided he wants a divorce – I’m a little bitter …
    We have been married 20 years – together 26 years.

    He says he can’t pay me spousal support as he doesn’t have it…
    he does have $50,000. in retirement which I know I’ll receive 1/2 – is it possible
    for me to ask for more from retirement to help me live financially?

    He has the option of working for another 10 plus years – he is in great shape …
    great health …

  52. My QDRO was completed and ex’s company transferred half of his 401k to me. We were only married 5 years and he is quite upset. I have not touched the funds yet. What can he do to get his money and do I have to agree?

    • The QDRO preparer generally follows whatever your divorce agreement provided. So if your divorce agreement gave you half of the 401(k), then that is what you get.

      • What is a roll of review? I know it has something to do with child support, spousal support or custody. But would it apply to a QDRO?

        • Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP says:

          I tried Googling that term, but nothing came up. In what document does it appear, and how is it used in a sentence? All I can think of is “rollover IRA” or “rollover of funds”, but that’s not “roll of review.”

        • Not a roll of review but a bill of review.

  53. I am sorry, I mean a bill of review.

    • This is what I found on the internet:

      In the practice of Equity courts, a paper filed with a court after expiration of the time for filing a petition for a rehearing in order to request, due to exceptional circumstances, the correction or reversal of a final judgment or decree.
      The use of a bill of review is limited to three situations: (1) the correction of a judgment that has incorporated errors found in the record of the case; (2) the reversal of a judgment because of recent discovery of evidence that is decisive on the issues of the case but that could not have been found in time for the trial; and (3) the setting aside of a judgment based upon proceedings that were tainted by Fraud, such as perjured testimony.

  54. If you didnt earn it it’s not yours. Divorce is a license to let ppl steal .

  55. My ex wants to help me and our children by taking a loan from his 401K to give me what was awarded in our divorce. We both just recently found out there is a QDRO in place we were never aware of and discovered at the county district clerk. He has been to see an attorney to see if he could do this and said that it could be done but has to change all the legal documents that he said he’d pay for. He also said that it would be tax free to do it this way. My question… are the retirement funds that were awarded to me, that are still sitting in his 401K, has it still been investing? Could it be more or less? Would they have put it in a separate account? Also, if I were to agree to this is it tax free to me taken out as a loan by him? I’ve tried contacting several lawyers who said it sounds fishy and don’t want to touch it. He said that he had a hard time finding a lawyer also who is not in our district.. If I refuse to go this route he wants to go, then when he retires I will receive lifetime taxable payments of a set amount when he retires. Can I contact his plan or will they only speak with him? Personally, I believe it’s a bad idea for him to take a loan out, but he is insistent on doing this. With my job I just make under yearly amount for our 2 children to qualify for student federal and state aid. After child support ends I may have to seek a 2nd job, which I don’t mind, but then won’t qualify for student aid, and cannot afford tuition and books. We are trying to avoid student loans.

    • Any money you receive now from the retirement plan will not be there when you retire. So it isn’t a good thing to get it now if you will need it in retirement. Apparently your portion of the plan has already been segregated for you within the plan. It has been invested, I assume, and will be available to you at retirement as a lump sum or you can take payments monthly. I think the plan administrator should be able to talk to you about your share of the plan since it is in your name.

  56. I am very confused about claiming social security of ex spouse. I qualified under all the other conditions. I plan to claim when i turn 62 (he will be 68) but from what my friend is telling me, i would be making too much to get a dime. Is there an income limit on being able to claim.

    • If you are below full retirement age, they will deduct $1 from your benefits for each $2 you earn above $15,720. So most working folks won’t receive much of anything, and should wait to collect until they reach full retirement age or quit working, whichever comes sooner.

  57. The QDRO was approved after several attempts…now my ex has refused to file for the pension from the corporation he worked for before we were divorced and he moved to another state..so basically the pension is lost to me because he refused to request it just so I will get none of it…is there anything I can do besides wait him out?

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