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).


  1. debbie didonato says:

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


  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.

      • I can’t seem to get the answer to this question anywhere. Husband has an individual retirement account. He had 400k in it when we got married and it is up to 600k. We have been married over 10 years. This money is in a self directed real estate IRA and I am the property manager.
        . I have been the designated beneficiary for the last 10 years. My question. Can he take me off as beneficiary at any time ( because it is his individual account?) Am I entitled to half of value of gain over 10 years since we have been married on this account? ie do I get half of the 200k gain? Which would be 100k ( I am rounding all this off of course). I googled this question every which way I can and I can’t seem to get a good answer. I live in California a community property state. I also have interspousal transfers to two houses that are my sole and separate property. They have gained in value as well. Do I owe my husband any gains? Thank you…know this is a older post but I am hoping you will answer this? diane.

        • I don’t see why he couldn’t remove you as beneficiary at any time. If no funds have been invested into the account during your marriage, then the entire account is his separate property.

          As for the houses, if they are in your name alone, but you have made improvements or paid down mortgages from community funds, then there is a marital interest for the community contributions plus part of the appreciation, and you’d owe him half of that.

          If they are in joint names, then they would belong to both of you, but you’d have a separate property interest roughly equal to the equity at the date they were put into both names.

      • I have been divorced for over a year been trying to get half of my exhusbands 401k it’s been one thing after the other now I am told that everything is done that needs to be done I have to get papers asking for the Quadro where do I get those papers from..or at least where I would like for it to go.

      • I was married for 11 years.How can you find an attorney that can advise you on this? My divorce attorney didn’t know anything about how to go about this. All I was told is it I would get half of his retirement and pension.

  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.

    • 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.


      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

      • Karen Brackett says:

        Joe, no judge in this day and age will say she is entitled to “the same standard of living as he is post divorce!” Alimony and support is limited at best! You must be from a different era…

  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 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:
    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,

      • 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.

  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!


    • 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 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?

  58. HI!
    I’m divorcing soon and need to know is it best to transfer my portion of my husbands 401k with fidelity into my own fidelity acct. or should i invest my part into something that will get me a better return on these funds?
    This is the only retirement money I have. I have been a SAHM for the duration of our marriage.
    Thank you!

    • Fidelity has a wide range of mutual funds from which to choose, so there is no need to switch out of Fidelty “to get a better return.” But you might want to explore getting professional management for your funds, if you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself. If you want to do it yourself, consider investing in a target retirement fund that reduces the portfolio risk as you near retirement age.

  59. Hi, I’m getting a divorce and me and my husband have decided to cash out his retirement fund and 401k without involving our lawyers, or using QUDRO, we plan on drawing up an agreement to split 50/50, is this wise. And what’s the process.

    • If you don’t draw up a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, when he withdraws 50% of the 401(k) plan and retirement fund and gives it to you, he will owe taxes on the entire amount plus penalties for early withdrawal. If you put it into your IRA for your retirement, you’ll owe a penalty of 6% every year for over-contribution to your IRA, which could be avoided if you had used a QDRO. If you draw up the divorce agreement yourself, be sure that you include all the boilerplate clauses that are required in your state and have it in correct legal form, or it will not be accepted for filing.

  60. Hi
    I live in Ca.
    I am divorced and filed a QDRO, leaving the money separated but administered by my X’s company. Recently I received notice that I have to move the money. It stated in my QDRO that after the funds were separated, at the earliest time thereafter, the money would be moved.
    Do I have to do this? My thought was to just leave it in his account until later (I have the QDRO filed) but they separated it, and I get my own statement. I’m not sure what is best.
    Second question:
    My fiancé is divorced, but neither he or his X have filed for the QDRO to separate his retirement. Any reason just to leave it be? Should I insist he file the QDRO before we marry? I wouldn’t want to fight her at a later date in court.
    Thank you!!

    • If the company says you have to move the money, then I’m guessing you have to move the money to an IRA in your name, to avoid current taxation. You can certainly ask them for an explanation. There’s really no reason to leave it with his employer, since it is likely that the administrative fees charged to the account are far greater than any fees you would incur with an IRA from a mutual fund company such as Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, etc.

      If you marry and your husband’s former spouse has a claim on his retirement, upon his retirement or death you will certainly be locked in battle with her, because I’m sure she’d assert her rights at that time. So it is best to get the paperwork handled to clean up the rest of his divorce.

  61. I was married in 1992 and divorced 2003, my x husband died November 2014 , called his former employer about his pension and found out that there’s QUADRO in placed and I’m starting to received check next month . My questions are 1) should I get back pay since he died last November 2) how to go about putting that money somewhere else so don’t get taxed on , I’m 47 and has full time job. Thanks you for any advice you can give me

    • You’ll need to ask the plan administrator if there’s an option for you to roll the entire amount to an IRA in your name, rather than receiving monthly payments, or if you at least can delay receiving payments until you reach retirement age.

  62. Hi there. I am having my final msa drawn up now to include the qdro of 30% of his retirement. It is a settlement I took to receive more monthly from him. He works for the state of CA and was told that i would have to have this portion transferred into an IRA under my name.
    Once the MSA is done and signed. How long will it take till I can access the IRA in my name? Do I have to wait until my divorce is final? If so, how long after signing my final papers will my divorce be final?

    I am needing this to purchase a car from ASAP and understand I will be paying penalties and taxes, but i have no other option.

    thanks in advance!

  63. Johnnie browder says:

    can i modify my divorce after he divorice in1998 he was still in the army at time he divorce.DFAs told me to modify to receive half of his retirement. We were marriage 16 years of army service.i did not sign any papers file for the divorce. hecarriage me as his wife. untile he got marriage in 2010 i never sign not to receive his army insurance. i told i need to sign it i do not want it. can i use a CPA to modify the paper work

  64. Hi, my divorce is final and my check for half of the payment for the QDRO was cashed in June so I was wondering when I should expect my half from my exes retirement. And also does the check get sent to me in the mail? I am currently unemployed. Thanks

    • Ask the person drawing up the QDRO what they expect the timetable to be. Usually your funds are rolled into an IRA, but you can request that they be paid to you directly. They will be taxable if you receive them, so expect 20% to be deducted for federal withholding taxes and possibly additional for state withholding taxes. And any additional taxes will be due with your tax return next April.

  65. In 2007 my ex and I were divorced after 23 years of marriage. In April of 2015 we finally settle the property which has to do with is retirement from the military. On July 1st. When the military started sending my part of the retirement to me. I found out that they took the portion of child support that he pays to me out of my portion of the retirement. So I am basically paying for my own child support. I thought that I would get my part of retirement plus what he owes me for child support. Please help me to understand this. Thank-you.

  66. I was divorced in 2010. I filed on my own and paid a paralegal to do my paperwork.
    I didn’t realize till after the divorce was final, that my ex husbands pension was not put in
    my divorce settlement. I was married for 20 years and we have 2 children together. I did receive child support and alimony since he was the main provider.

    I found out he is planning on opening his own business with some of his retirement money. What should I do, because I don’t want to lose out on anything that I have earned through our marriage. He is also remarried but no children with his new wife of 2 years.

    Thank u sincerely,

  67. I have been divorced since 1997, was married for 13 years. My ex told me that the pension that he paid into while we were married went bankrupt or was embezzled or something. I can’t afford an attorney, how can I find out if this is true?

    • Most pensions are protected under the Pension Benefit Guaranty Board. Ask your husband to provide documentation regarding that pension, or to give permission for you to talk to the pension administrator for the company.

  68. My exes pension was never mentioned in my divorce in 2000 can I still get my fair share? I am in Illinois.

  69. I was divorced in CA OK n 1986. I was on LTD and was in abuse mairage of 13 years. Couldn’t afford a lawyer so there is nothing in the decree stating anything about his pension. He was a federal employee for most of that time so there is no ss benifit. Am I able to refile for pension since he is now retired.

  70. I was divorced in 2006. Our divorce decree states I am entitled to 1/2 his retirement, at the time valued at $26,000. My cruddy divorce attorney told me that in order for her to complete and file a QDRO on my behalf, it would cost me an additional $1,000, on top of the $5k I had already payed her. I didn’t have the money, so a QDRO was never done. My ex has changed jobs several tmes since, so i have no idea what retirement plan he has now or who administates it. My 18yr old daughter told me today that her dad told her recently (he was complaining to her about the cost of her 1st year college tuition) that he had no money put away for when he retires (he’s only 48). If this is true and he took all the money out of his retirement account, is he still liable to me for the amount the divorce decree states?

  71. I’m hoping you can answer a question for me. I was awarded 50% of my husbands retirement through a QDRO. When we divorced the administrator informed both me and him that in order for him to be eligible for this retirement plan he would need to keep his Union dues paid up to date. My question is: if I was awarded half and he does not keep up his union dues and loses his rights to the retirement plan. (He’s spiteful and irresponsible) Am I still entitled to be compensated. My divorce paperwork states that that the court has the right to enforce the judgement.

    • This is a legal question, and you will need to consult with an attorney about your rights if by his actions (or failures) he loses the retirement. It may be that your portion is in some way protected since you secured it with the QDRO.

  72. I was the bread winner during my 23 years of being married to a drunk, cheating and abusing husband. Unfortunately the one who made the money is the one who is screwed. My divorce papers state that my ex gets half of my retirement. If they did not put a QDRO on the money does my ex still get half?

  73. My step-father just passed away in June 2015. He divorced his first wife in 1981 and he married my mother in 1984. At the time of the first wife’s divorce, the decree listed no assets. He retired in 1992 and began collecting his pension. My mother is trying to collect on his pension but they are giving her a hard time. Is there any way that his ex-wife can try to collect that pension benefit instead of my mother? Also, his life insurance listed my mother as a beneficiary but they are also giving her a hard time. Is his life insurance considered an “asset” of his estate (he had no real assets when he passed, he didn’t own the home or bonds/stocks only his car) or is it separate from the estate?

    • When he began collecting his pension, he was required to name his spouse as his beneficiary unless your mother waived that right in order for him to collect higher benefits during his lifetime. If she did that, then the pension died with him. If she was named as his beneficiary, then she should receive benefits. It may be that at the time of his divorce a portion of his benefits were awarded to his former spouse. If so, she is eligible for that portion of the benefits. The plan administrator should have clear records showing what happened and who (if anyone) should get survivor benefits.

      As for the life insurance, if it was paid current at the time of his death and it named your mother as a beneficiary, then she should collect the benefits. If he was the owner of the policy, then it was an asset of his estate that passes to whoever was named as beneficiary.

    • When he began collecting his pension, he was required to name his spouse as his beneficiary unless your mother waived that right in order for him to collect higher benefits during his lifetime. If she did that, then the pension died with him. If she was named as his beneficiary, then she should receive benefits. It may be that at the time of his divorce a portion of his benefits were awarded to his former spouse. If so, she is eligible for that portion of the benefits. The plan administrator should have clear records showing what happened and who (if anyone) should get survivor benefits.

      As for the life insurance, if it was paid current at the time of his death and it named your mother as a beneficiary, then she should collect the benefits. If he was the owner of the policy, then it was an asset of his estate that passes to whoever was named as beneficiary of the policy.

  74. My ex husband and I both are 63. He cleaned out his 401(k) plan and I was wondering if there is anyway possible for me to receive a portion of that money. If so, now that he is retired, how would I go about doing that and because we live and have always lived in the state of Virginia would I be entitled to any of that.

    • If you were awarded part of his 401(k) in your divorce, you should have done a Qualified Domestic Relations Order so that your portion would go to you. If you were awarded part of the 401(k) and didn’t do that QDRO, see an attorney immediately. If your divorce agreement gave him the 401(k), then you are not entitled to any portion of it. If it wasn’t addressed in your divorce agreement, then you need to see an attorney immediately about dividing an omitted asset.

  75. Our agreed upon settlement included me receiving a portion of my ex husband’s IRA. The divorce is final and he says he’s completed the paperwork to rollover the funds to my IRA but now says he doesn’t like the amount and so hasn’t sent in the forms. Can he change his mind now that the divorce is final and simply not comply?

  76. I have. Qdro but he hasn’t retired yet i was granted half of pention for 16 yrs of marriage I need the money now how can I get it

  77. I will be receiving part of my exhusband’s retirement. I know I’m supposed to reinvest,but have been diagnosed with cancer. The medical bills are very high and we are behind on our other bills. How much will I get taxed if I use the money

    • You will owe taxes at whatever your tax bracket is on your tax return. You will also owe a 10% federal tax penalty if you are under 59-1/2, and may owe state penalties as well. If your medical expenses exceed 10% of your income, the retirement you receive to cover that excess will escape penalty.

  78. My mother divorced my father 19 years ago. They were married for 18. We recently found out he just retired. When my mom divorced she got her three kids with barely any child support, no alimony, no pension/retirement. Basically it was a really bad situation and after fighting for her kids for 2 years she just gave in to his demands (I.e. Money). I am wondering if there is anyway for her to go back and ask for part of his pension? The divorce was in CA and my mom/siblings now live in WA (biological father in CA).

    • If the Marital Settlement Agreement gave your father the entire pension, then I don’t see any way that could be changed 19 years later. If the MSA was silent about the pension, then she should consult an attorney about whether the case could be opened up again for the purpose of distributing an overlooked asset.

  79. I decided to leave the company and withdraw my retirement, my ex and I agreed that we would not bother each other retirement. Do I still need to notify her since we don’t have no contact and she is very vindictive towards me? And i know she wouldn’t sign anything!

  80. Hi, I was wandering if I could get a little advice I am 49 years old and just got my disability. When I went thru my divorce I was granted half my husband pension, his pension states he has to be 65 or pass,or be on disability. My question is can I take my portion early or do I also have to wait…

    • First of all, paperwork should be filed with the pension administrator to get your portion of his pension put into your name. If you have done that already, then you should be able to call the pension administrator and ask that question. Each plan is different, and that’s the person who can tell you what the rules are for the plan.

  81. Hi Ginita, my husband and i have been married almost 8 years, and he had a Condo with approx. $100K worth of equity before we were married. We since moved that to 2 different home over the 8 years and now there is about $90 in total equity in todays market. The condo he was the only signer, but we were both signers for the next 2 homes. Am I entitled to any of that equity? He tells me that I am not because he had the money going into the marriage.

    Thank you,


  82. My ex and I was divorced in 1992 after 7 years of marriage. Inthe divorce papers I was to recieve a portion of his retirement. He turned 60 in August 2015. The company he worked for closed their doors and he has recently been approved for Social Security because of 2 heart attacks. He has remarried, divorced and remarried the same woman and she is slowly selling everything he has and has already lost a house to foreclosure and just bought another one. My question is, there was never any QRDRO orders mentioned. What do I have to do to get my part of his retirement before she sends him to the poorhouse again. Since the company closed more than 10 years ago, I don’t know who to turn to or where to start. I don’t have alot of money and really can’t afford to go back to an attorney.

    • You can get the retirement only if it still exists. So I guess your first order of business is filing a petition to get that information from him. If you don’t hire an attorney or paralegal, you’ll have to figure out how to do that in your jurisdiction.

  83. Why my husband have in his own retirement papers that shows that he is single if we being married for almost 11 years? Also, it shows that he have 0 dependents and we have a son together and he also takes care of me since I’m a full time student and I’m not working. Please, can you explain to me if that is a good or bad thing? Thank you!

    • I cannot tell you why he has it written somewhere that he is single with no dependents, nor can I tell you whether that is good or bad, since I don’t know what the context is or what the document on which that information appears relates to. You’ll need to find someone to look at it and explain it to you.

  84. hello if my wife get her bonus afther divorces can I can get some % my income are 44.000 and her is 220.000 a year .if I gualify

  85. I have been divorced since 2006.In the divorce papers it says my ex gets half of my pension. We were married 17 years and I worked 9 years as a teacher in NJ. We never had a QDRO or notified my pension admin. Now he came up with a sum that he thinks I owe him? I am 47 and will not retire for quite a while. Should I get a lawyer of ignore him?

    • You don’t owe him anything, he has a claim against your retirement plan for payments in retirement. Suggest to him that he has a QDRO drawn up to notify the plan administrator how much of the plan is his, so he can get payments when retirement time comes.

  86. Hi, I have a question regarding my part of my ex husbands pension. We were married March 2003, separated September 2009, Divorced finalized March 2015. He retired May 2011 and has been receiving retirement benefits since. I was awarded in our California divorce, 1/2 of his pension for the duration of our marriage. A QDRO is in progress but being that I’m 45, will I immediately be issued any monies since I am not of retirement age? And how is the amount I receive calculated?

  87. My husband of 5 years recently said he is unhappy and wants a divorce. We have decided to work things out, but I still distrust him. I do not work and am the beneficiary to his IRA. We have decided to sell our house and downsize. In order to do so, my husband would like to withdraw two payments from his IRA account to pay off mortgage; therefore less risk on having two mortgage payments. My understanding is that if we end up separating, I am entitled to half of monies that were put into the IRA during the marriage.
    My question is: Will that withdrawal be deducted from the monies I’m entitled to?
    Thank you for your time

    • We are not attorneys and I can’t give you legal advice. But I imagine that if you divorced, what is left in the IRA would be divided between you, as would the equity in the homes. After withdrawing money from the IRA to pay off the mortgage, the IRA balance would be less and the equity in the homes would be higher. Unfortunately, you’ll also have a heckuva tax bill to reckon with, since you’ll owe federal and state taxes as well as federal and state penalties for early withdrawal from an IRA, if he isn’t yet 59-1/2.

      • My husband is 67, and I do realize there will be some penalties. I do appreciate your rapid response. What a wonderful website and contribution you’ve made. Thank you.

  88. Joseph dixon says:

    I got a divorce from my wife she left me her retirement what do I do to make sure I get it when I become old enough I’m 52 now I need someone to help me with

  89. Joseph dixon says:

    my divorce was in 2011 my wife left me her retirement I’ll try to get my odro but they said they couldn’t find anything how do I get help with this did I wait too long.

  90. Joseph dixon says:

    I don’t think my wife is going to do that but I have the paperwork the judge said I can reopen the case anytime I want to can I do too qdro by myself what do if she doesnt want to do it.

  91. My husbands pension is through his union. They don’t state an lump sum amount. They only state what his monthly amount will be when he retires. Does this mean I have to wait to receive my portion ? Or is there a way I can receive mine in a lump sum now because I have lost my job due to having to move to another state and also had surgery and unable to work.

    • If the plan allows for lump sums, then you’ll be able to get your share in a lump sum. If not, then you’ll get payments once the paperwork is in place to divide that if you divorce. If you don’t divorce, he will get the payments or lump sum, if applicable. There is no way you can get them to pay you a lump sum if the plan doesn’t call for it, so your husband can ask the plan administrator whether it it possible. But remember that you’ll have to pay tax all at once on a lump sum, and likely at a high tax rate, depending on how much the lump sum is.

  92. Hi I have been married for 17 yrs. Third marriage for both of us. I did not plan on finding myself at age 65 having to be starting over..I am living in a house that my husband inherited from his mother but which I contributed hard work and my own money renovating when we moved in 2 yrs ago. I now will find myself having to move out and have to support myself with only 800 social security while he stays in the comfort of this house and does not want to pay me one cent in spousal support etc. I have 145 in an IRA that was money i inherited from my mother (whom he had nothing to do with) and will have to be dipping into that for living expenses even though i had planned to keep most of it invested. Between his pension and SS income alone, he has 2600 a month. I contributed to household bills and spent 17 yrs catering to this man and feel i should not be forced out into the world with nothing from him. I also paid for every household item, furniture, etc myself. Even though 145,000 in IRA and am age 65, but little monthly income, should i be entitled to spousal support or any of his pension?

  93. Question, I’m suppose to give my ex 20 % of my retirement, does my ex have to claim that as income and can I claim the amount on my taxes that I give my ex. If so, can I do it personally or have to go thur the court system

    • In general, divorce agreements call for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to be filed, so that he is paid directly by the plan administrator and he can report that on his tax returns. If it was ordered to be paid by you as alimony, you can claim a deduction on your tax return for alimony paid. Look at your divorce agreement, and if you have any question about how it is to be characterized and handled, contact your attorney for clarification.

  94. Question.. I was married 28 years. Divorced due to drug addiction on my husband’s part. In our divorce his pension was split between us both. We divorced on Dec 2009 and He was suppose to have taken care of getting the QDRO. I kept asking him and he said he did but I got no record of it. March 2011 he committed suicide. I told his former place of work and they said he didn’t file one that I don’t qualify to receive his pension without it. I gave up. Is there anything I can do? Do I have a chance in getting it? He was mentally ill during that time due to his addiction.

  95. Hello,
    Im going through a divorce as I write this post…we had a settlement conference and the judge told him I was entitled to half of his pension because we been married for 10+ years. The problem i’m having is figuring out if I have to wait till he retires to get my half…I don’t make much money because im in there a way I can get the pension before he retire..hes not retiring for the next 18 years.. im in Missouri..

    • Ginita Wall, CPA, CFP says:

      Once you and he file the Qualified Domestic Relations Order with the plan administrator identifying what portion of the plan is yours, you can begin getting payments at the earliest date at which your former spouse is eligible to retire.


  96. I need guidance. Live in NC, ex husband has been very difficult. Did mediation for settlement but he backed out after he obtained divorce. Lawyers are TOO involved with each other. and mine especially has taken me for a ride. A judge signed and order for a court hearing to resolve the issues but both lawyers got continuations for one year, until I finally demanded something be done or I was going to contact someone as to why court order not followed. He filed some kind of papers with a different judge and this one said to get everything to him in weeks as all the CORRECT papers had not been filed, and then he would set a court date. Never happened either. I get a bill today for $3,000 and I have already paid this much or more and still have nothing. He has filed a QUADRO to get monies from IRA but that paper was $1,000 and another lawyer in the firm did it as had more experience ? I have so many questions of shoddy practices, even the ex ‘s lawyer sent me a friend request on FB. I have heart failure and other disabilities and feel like I may not see any $$. Where should I turn next ? I could not change lawyers as not one in this town that is trustworthy either and others do not come to our county. Help me Please. Thank You

  97. How can I get information on my husbands retirement plans to determine if there is a pension benefit along with his other accounts. We separated in July 2014, I then filed for divorce in August and he retired in December. He has two IRA’s set up and funded from his employer but I need to make sure there is not another pension benefit also. I would like to know if a QDRO needs to be used or what paper work needs to be used in this instance in order to protect my portion of retiremnet?

    • Your attorney can subpoena your husband’s employer for that information, or send your husband a notice to produce documents. The former will probably be more fruitful.If the only accounts are IRAs, then no QDRO is needed. Check with an attorney to see how accounts are divided in your area.

  98. Was married for 19 years and my husband retired at 20. He is telling me I have to choose between half his retirement and alimony. Is that true?

  99. I am in the making of a separation. I have no lawyer and can not afford one. I am 60/husband73
    I agreed to 200 a month from his pension/he was going to pay me directly-now his lawyer wants me to get the qudro form because without it my husband would have to pay taxes on it. I feel I agreed to 200 monthly from him- do I have to be the one to get thee form?

  100. I am trying to help my sister she was divorced in 2007 and has QDRO for 50 percent of ex husband pension upon his retirement. He continues to work at age 69 and she will not get her payment until he retires. He works for town in mass is there anything that can be done. Per the town adm she will only get benefits when he retires

    • The QDRO should spell out what she can and cannot get. In general, she should be eligible to receive benefits at the earliest he could retire. But she should consult an attorney to read and interpret the document for her if she can’t determine if that’s what it provides.

  101. I just found out that my ex husband signed the divorce papers over a year ago. In it, I receive a portion of his 401k. Do I have a timeline to get those funds?


  1. […] Getting Income From Retirement Plans After Divorce – – As 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 … […]

  2. […] Getting Income From Retirement Plans After Divorce – – As 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 … […]

  3. […] Getting Income From Retirement Plans After Divorce – – As 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 … […]

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