Are You Entitled to Some of Your Husband’s Retirement Savings In Your Divorce?

Aside from your home, it is likely that the retirement accounts you and your husband hold make up a large portion of your shared assets. Divorce accounts, like 401(k) plans, IRAs, and pension funds come with a lot of rules and regulations, which makes them a little tricky to tackle in divorce. However, retirement accounts ARE assets and can be considered martial property. That means you are likely to be entitled to some of your husband’s retirement assets, especially if he was the primary breadwinner in your household.

Can You Receive Part of His Retirement Benefits?

Any income that your husband added to his retirement accounts while you were married or any amount that he became vested in a pension plan during marriage will be considered marital property. As long as the money invested did not come from an inheritance or as a gift or isn’t protected by a prenuptial agreement, it should be on the divorce negotiation table.

Before you sign your name on the divorce settlement make sure you understand exactly what the tax implications are for dividing retirement assets. Since retirement vehicles are so complicated, it is really a good idea to use an experienced divorce attorney to guide you in this process.

By the way, this rule cuts both ways. If you have built up retirement savings during the marriage, your soon-to-be-ex is likely entitled to part of your retirement savings.

Get a QDRO

If your husband has a pension or a 401(k) plan, you’ll want to ask the court to issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, known as a QDRO, which you can serve to your husband’s employer. The QDRO will allow your husband’s employer or retirement administrator to move funds from his account and place them in your retirement account without any penalties. We can’t stress enough how important this document is. Without it, your husband could end up with your share of the retirement instead of you.

Get a Lump Sum Payment Instead?

It is always possible for you to take a lump sum withdrawal from your husband’s retirement account if you both come to that agreement, but be aware of the tax penalties you’ll face. For example, if you ask your husband to hand over half his IRA to you in cash and you are under the age of 59 ½, that payment will get hit with a 10% withdrawal penalty. Additionally, he’ll have to report the total amount as income and pay income tax on it. If the amount is large enough, it might even get taxed in a higher tax bracket!

Think about how much money you need right now and where you are in your own retirement savings plan. If you can, use a QDRO to move your husband’s retirement savings into a new, separate IRA for yourself so you can focus on your own retirement savings. Of course, not every woman can afford to start saving money right away after a divorce. If you need the money to pay your legal bills or to start your life over, then you may have to simply swallow the taxes and penalties. Another option is to negotiate for cash from another source instead of your husband’s retirement accounts, such as from his stock options or RSUs, so that you can avoid an early withdrawal penalty.

Get Expert Help

Dealing with retirement accounts can quickly get messy, and many divorce attorneys mishandle QDROs. Military pensions, and pensions from the federal government, state government, county, or city all have their own rules and require their own expertise. Don’t try to negotiate these tricky subjects on your own and get burned with unknown taxes, penalties, and laws. Hire a knowledgeable divorce attorney or at least an attorney with contacts with specialists who can work with her on your divorce. It’s worth the extra money to make sure you get what you are owed in your divorce.

Have more divorce questions? You can always read more great advice in our divorce article archive, but we also recommend attending the next Second Saturday Divorce Workshop in your area.

187 thoughts on “Are You Entitled to Some of Your Husband’s Retirement Savings In Your Divorce?”

  1. I was sick and unable to testify for myself on the day of my divorce , lawyer settled yhen later after I got out OF ICU .I FOUND MYSELF ON DISABILITY SSI GETTING 488 A MONTH LOST HEALTH BENEFITS NO SUPPORT AND CANT WORK HAD MY OWN HOME BUT ALLOWED HIM TO BORROW MONEY ON MY HOME HE EANYED HIS NAME OFF LOAN . I WAS IN COURT YESTERDAY AND GUESS WHAT I WASNT ALLOWED TO SPEAK ON MY OWN BEHALF , they gave me 10 days to list 3 realtors of their choice how about that .HE KEPT HIS HOME COMPLETE WITH POOL, has extra income because of me ., draws at least 7500 a month , gets off 80,000 dollar loan AND I GET 488 A MONTH THETE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE . HOW CAN ANYONE GET AWAY WITH THIS AND A COURT ALLOW A DISABLED WOMAN TO BE THROWN IN THE STREET .CAN ANYONE HELP ME ?

    1. I got screwed by my lawyer too Now see he is 70 ghis yr drawing retirement and I have to wait 12 more yr s to attach to his social security benefits because his is higher than mine. See I wouldnt in no shape to testify either . it’s a shame I put up with abuse for 13 yrs he like to drove me crazy

      1. I can’t take it anymore. 38 years of verbal, mental, emotional abuse -and sometimes physical abuse. -I have to leave. -I have no money, no job, am not in anyway financially dependent. -But I can’t live like this anymore. -He is a functioning alcoholic.

        I have tried and tried for years. No marriage counseling. Won’t talk to me. Ignores me when I do. It got to the point where we only spoke through texts, and now, when he doesn’t like anything I say, which is nothing but the truth and trying to ‘reach’ him and try to get help for us to save our marriage, he just deletes and ignores them.

        How do you live with no communication?

        I also think he is cheating. Or at the least, someone is “influencing” him against me. … That happened years ago, but at least then he had some repentance and wanted to fix it.

        Now he doesn’t care. It is like he does what he wants, spends money where he wants. goes to bars and blows wads of cash. He has a safe he keeps it locked in. He has an envelope he carries at all times with 3/4 inches of 20’s -maybe some are 50’s. But at the least, they are all 20’s. My son saw them closer than me.

        He doles money out to me and I go without and suffer so much. He threatens me and controls me with money. Like this pay, he gave me an extra $100 dollars. I told him thank you, thank you, thank you so much.

        But now he is mad and says he wont do it next pay. … He may not even give me any, for all I know. -And he has done that his whole life to me. I never knew if he was giving me any or not.

        I have to juggle money to pay bills and buy basic stuff for the house. There is barely enough for food. In fact, we haven’t have bread for days and he has money and just refuses to buy it. We live in the country. My sons work hard at a farm for ‘slave wages’, then they have to spend it all on gas to get out there and food, and can’t even save anything up for themselves while they are still living here. It would be one thing if they got paid fairly, but they don’t -but that’s another story.

        They would help me if they could, but they have their own problems in life.

        And he thinks we are living in 1984 prices, when this is 2020.

        I don’t know what to do. I don’t think I even have any recourse, so it is frustrating. I still would go to counseling, even now, but he won’t. I have to just give up some way, cause I can’t take living like this. I have to try to leave and move on or something. But I am sick (health issues) and have no place to go, really.

        But living like this is killing me with stress. I am unhappy and full of hurt and pain. -Anger and resentment.

        I do not deserve this. I have never been anything but loyal and faithful and I have put up with so much over the years. I have tried to be a good wife and everything he wanted. he lies, is mean, treats me unkindly. And so on.

        I wish I would have done something years ago, but I kept trying and had hope. … I think that hope is gone, now.

        … He spends “his” money where he wants. Buys stuff on ebay, online flea-markets on Facebook, and etc. … His phone is his life. He would not LIVE without it.

        I live in PA. I don’t think I can even get alimony or anything like that. He has a good job at the Steel Mill. I haven’t seen a pay stub in years. We had a loan we had to take for a family emergency, and he promised when he was done paying it off, he would give me that money. That would have been an extra $350 dollars every 2 weeks.

        He has not at all. Except this last pay, he gave me the $100 dollars extra.. … I really can’t take this anymore. I wish I knew what recourse I have, but I don’t even know what to do or where to start.

        ~Cathy

        1. it happened to me too… he was a functioning alcoholic as a Fire Chief abusive and cocaine addict at age 50, and I’m 60 years old now (we both same age) but I left with 15000 tax return that I kept from him knowing it took me 3 years… went back to school got school loans but who cares at my age it was income now i’m divorced it took me 6 years to get at this point. I went to counseling myself see a therapist … it’s not about him at this point it’s you … you need to leave you can do it. I stayed in the dorm grad housing at first it was cheap housing for 4 months … the university has all these services for grad students … counselors, therapists, it’s healthy environment. I work as grad student doing research and I’m divorced at 60 years old and I’m going to be doctor in education … I’m getting my Ph.D. soon … I started teaching at the community college first and now I’m teaching at the university. Only you can change …. forget him … marriage is not that … I’m not in a relationship but it’s okay because I love myself more and I enjoy being alone with my thoughts got a pet. good luck … sending you blessings. It’s rough but I’m sane now and living my life … have 3 girls married for 33 years but I’m over it.

        2. Cathy- I went through what you did for 22 years. You have to take pictures, keep records, call your local domestic violence counseling and start right away. Do not tell him. When you’re ready apply for a pro bono attorney. My ex hid assets and bought crap on eBay and stopped paying bills. Trust me. They don’t change. I know it hurts. I was 20 and he cheated, was verbally, financially, and emotionally Abusive

    2. I have been divorced for three years. The attorney that I had my husband used also. He told her that I would get his pension when he passed away. That was not the case, he was the police captain in Cincinnati, Joseph Koch. I rec’d 1 payment from the police department. He committed suicide and I rec’d no more money. The police department’s attorney said that he had filled out a form that turn down me receiving his pension. I just called the attorney and asked why she didn’t check. She said there was nothing she could do and hung up. She didn’t even check. There were four papers to the documents that took me out of receiving any of his pension. They sent me one page with my name on it, but it was a forgery and he actually had it notarized. He did this one year after we were married. They would not send me the other three pages of the document. I am all alone, my money is running out, and no one will help me. Melissa Kroener was my attorney. Is there anything I can do? 513-413-7158.

      1. You will have to challenge the signature as a forgery. I hope it’s not too late. These pension rules have a time frame you are required to comply with then federal court if they don’t recognize your signature as a forgery.

    3. I was .married for 12 years slot of abuse i had his only child i was so upset I didn’t know whaty lawyer done he got all the furniture cause I didn’t want the horrible memories i deserve his retirement i lead him to the job he still works at and I live on disability which I am very poor married 12 years of abuse i had his only child be i earned his retirement.

      1. If your divorce agreement says that you are awarded a portion of his retirement, then you will need to file a Qualified Domestic Relations Order with the plan administrator to claim your share. If the retirement plan was awarded entirely to your spouse, then you will not be able to get any portion of it. If the retirement plan wasn’t addressed in your divorce agreement, you may be able to get the case reopened so you can divide that plan.

  2. Hi
    I’m in need of advise. My parents are divorcing after 50 years of marriage, my father is canceling insurance policies; health, life, auto, this is freaking me out for my mother. He is closing accounts, he is leaving her with nothing. My mother has been completely submissive and un-involved in their finances, i’m so glad i found this page but i’m stared that she doesn’t have the resources to retain an attorney, he has handicapped her ability to defend herself.Does she have any rights to stop him from cutting her off financially?

        1. Half of it. You married her didn’t you. My god. What is it with men. The minute they decide the marriage is over…it’s their house. Their money. Their pensions. Give her what she is entitled to. . Half of everything!!!!

  3. I’m currently receiving $700 a month SS age 64 , was married 19 yrs , he has a bigger amount a lot SS due him ,I remarried but same name Smith, can I get his benefits or do I get divorced so I can get 4 times more to live on or can I try to get benefits without getting divorced or annulled , I need the money and plan on filing my own return in 2017. My ex got all the benifits in our marriage,self employed he took all the SS so we didn’t have to pay the IRS extra for mine. That is why mine is so low, I deserve to get it just don’t know how.

    1. It sounds as though you are currently married, and so the benefits you are receiving are either reduced benefits based on your own earnings record or spousal benefits equal to 50% of what your spouse is entitled to on his earnings record, reduced because you began collecting early. If you divorced, and your current marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you could collect reduced divorced spouse benefits based on either former spouse’s earnings record. Those benefits are the equivalent of 50% of what your former spouse is entitled to, reduced because you began collecting early. If your current marriage was less than 10 years, you could collect your own benefit or divorced spouse benefits based on Husband #1, whichever is higher.

      If he is entitled to maximum benefits of $2,600 or so, the reduced divorced spouse benefit would be around $975. It is likely that his benefits are not that high, so you wouldn’t get much, if anything, more than you are receiving now.

      1. Please tell me he is getting his military 40 year retirement and no qdro signed in court but we got copies of court ordered to take from his personal account.Therefore do i file a motion, moderation or amendment?

        1. There is a QDRO-like military form that needs to be filed with the military retirement folks in order for you to get paid directly from the military. If you instead are to get paid from his personal account, then that is what should happen. If he is supposed to pay you from his account and he doesn’t, you’ll need to follow your local court rules regarding enforcement of judgments.

  4. well in my house things are very bitter ive been called a fool or a stupid hoe all sorts of names he even tells me that if i file for a divorce he is going to kill me because ill have 50% of everything he is owning. i am an unemployed 27 year old trying to complete my studies but due to the fact that he went out and had a child out of the marriage we suffer financially because he is paying for that child R2000.00 per month wich leaves our 4 year old with no money to even pay for school fees and no money to buy food in the house.because he is verbally and psyically abusive i fear for my life.we are married in community of property so that means if i file for a divorce all assets needs to be divided.please help. i am so drained even the intimacy is no more there.wich makes me feel like i am not good enough towards him please help

  5. I was married for 10 yrs, divorced in the 80’s. Husband died in 2011, Am i entitled to any social security benefits from him?

        1. It depends on what paper you signed, and what is was regarding. Did he retire, and you signed a paper saying that you didn’t want to collect benefits when he dies? If so that means when he dies you won’t get any survivor benefits. Did you sign divorce papers saying you gave up all rights to his retirement? If so, that is likely to be binding and you won’t be able to get retirement. Or did he have you write him a note saying you won’t get benefits? If so, that’s probably not a binding legal document and you probably aren’t bound by it.

  6. Sharon Goldsmith

    My husband and I have been separated but still close. in september of 2017 we will have been married 10 years I am 62 and he is 73. I know I am not entitled to his inheritance but he draws about $5000 a month social security and retirement. do I get any of those funds in a divorce…

    1. You can collect reduced social security spousal benefits now, or wait until you are 66 and collect full spousal benefits, if those benefits exceed benefits based on your own earnings record. If you divorce, then the benefits you are eligible for are called divorced spouse benefits, but are equivalent in amount. As for his retirement benefits in divorce, that will depend on the laws of your state.

  7. What happens to stocks that are purchased (not through employer), just a public common stock he had a hunch to follow up on? How are those treated after divorce? Could he sell them and cash that out, and if so, are they then taxable income and fees?

  8. Oh another question. Do you know of low cost financial advisors with regards to advising the best way to move forward after a divorce? Like should I keep the house and forego some retirement, sell the home, etc?

    1. I am currently going through my third divorce. I’m his first wife, I’m 50 and I didn’t want the divorce. I have been with him 11 yrs, but only married 8 yrs. I filed the divorce because we’ve been separated a year and half and it’s unfixable. Can I put in the divorce papers, if he agrees, that should I not remarry (I’m done after this marriage) I could get half the amount at 65 that’s gets entitled too, even if law says I have to be married 10yrs to him prior to divorce?

      1. You can put anything that you agree to in the divorce agreement, but it is not binding on the federal government, who will still pay divorced spouse benefits only if you were married for 10 years or longer. But you can agree that he will give you half of his benefits he receives, if he agrees to that. As an alternative, you could agree to get a divorce on paper but still be married (not terminate legal status) for another 2 years, so that you’ll be married for 10 years.

  9. I WAS MARRIED FOR 23 YEARS. NOW DIVORCED. IT WAS A NO FAULT DIVORCE. AM I STILL INTITLED TO PART OF HIS RETIREMENT?

  10. My husband and I separated last March . We didn’t file a divorce yet. I took him off from my health insurance in October of 2017 . He doesn’t have any insurance and he need a surgery right know . I wanted to know if I have legally obliged to provide insurance for him or cover expenses for his surgery . We live in California .
    Thank you very much .

    1. I retired six months after I or married, I am married twenty five years is my spouse entitled to my pension art all?

  11. My husband divorced me 4 years ago It was a uncontested divorce, didn’t ask for anything out of the divorce he is retired he’s 75 years old and I’m 54 years old am I entitled to anything

    1. I am also disabled and was awarded less than 5% of all assetts that were aquired. together during my 20 years of marriage. The judge made horrible decisions without regard to me and I also was. thrown out on the streets with. $560.00 a month to live on .We must stop this unfair practice and reach out to many in hopes that many others do not end up in this horrible position after giving thier life to loved ones?

      1. I was married 23 years. I saw no red flags. My Ex withdrew all 401k just four years into our marriage within a four year period all 401k gone. I had no knowledge of these withdrawals. We sold our home after he retired and to my surprise we had a tax lean on our home of 96,000.00 from withdrawing those funds before 59 1/2 years of age. Sold the house but lost all our equity. Fast forward seven years, he tricked me into refinancing our now new home we built together, yes together with our own hands almost 4K square feet of home. He tricked me into refinancing the home to extract some equity to install a unground pool.
        In the refinancing papers all 196 pages was a Quit Claim Deed I was not aware It was included. I didn’t know what a QQD was. I found out about this after I divorced him five years later during Discovery phase of my divorce. I signed where I was told and didn’t read anything neither did my husband. What can go wrong with a simple refinance right? It happened to me. Now I’m now three years into my divorce and no settlement yet. Why? On paper he took everything from me and I’m not giving up on claiming FRAUD! He has since filed bankruptcy to avoid going to community property settlement. I am not going to stop till I get justice. I will take this to the Supreme Court of Louisiana if necessary. Men get richer and women get poorer after a divorce. But if I can and I will go to Washington to change some laws. It’s unfair and unbalanced to say the least. I’m not giving up. I’m still fighting this battle with grace I must add. I have faith in God to carry me during this time.
        Praying for all women out there suffering after divorce. Never give up!!! Fight for what is your right! My advise to ALL women across America… check your land records once a year at your courthouse. That’s where you will find this crime of FRAUD. there’s a two year statute of limitation on revoking a QQD after that it’s almost impossible to revoke unless you have proof of Fraud. This happens to women (Wife) Everyday. Just so you all know, he was loving, told me he loved me often, hugs, etc… not a single red flag! Be aware of all your financials! Bank accounts, retirement , 401k, take pictures during your marriage of all documents. And DO NOT!! Ever sign a document without an Attorney present. I don’t care how loving and caring your husband seems. Those are the ones you need to be careful of. Again never sign your name to ANYTHING!!! Without an Attorney. Please if I can save one wife from what happened to me it would help my pain. Praying for women out there newly divorced to hang in there and never give up.

        1. Thank you for your cautionary tale, and I’m so sorry that this happened to you. The laws of each state are different. I know that in the state I live in, a quitclaim deed that signs property over to the other spouse without any reasonable consideration being paid is not an effective transmutation into separate property, and so it is still subject to division. So anyone reading this should know that the laws of your state may be different than for Marcia. And that said, what she says about being careful about what you sign applies to everyone signing any document under and circumstance.
          And Marcia,”going to Washington to change some laws” won’t make a difference in your state, since property and how it is treated in divorce is determined at the state level, and so is not subject to federal discretion.

  12. I was married for 20 years and through the court was allotted part of my ex-husbands retirement. I have now been divorced for 5 years now and in this time have not received but a couple pennies on the dollar for child support. My ex-husband has screwed my financial situation completely. I’m to the point now to getting ready to lose my house, which my daughter is an adult now but still have our son living with me. I might very well lose my job here soon. I make some money but not enough to cover the path of destruction my ex left me. Also, I have taken him to court several times and he was held in contempt. That was the only time I seen some money. Anyway long story short…I need help to understand how this works. I was awarded part of his retirement which is through a union. I called the union insurance and they said that there is no way to withdraw early even if my son and I are to be living on the streets soon. I was hoping this is not a true statement, I have had several friends that have been able to do this and that gave them a chance to get set up financially to keep going. I need help please I am not sure what I need to do and feel defeated.

    1. You will need to have a Qualified Domestic Relations Order prepared and served on the plan administrator (the union), if you have not yet done that. That will pin down your portion as belonging to you. The plan will then make payments to you when your former spouse is eligible for retirement. If the plan provides that payments could be made sooner, then early payments can be made, but it sounds as though that is not part of the plan, based on your discussion with the union insurance.

  13. I been divorce for 32 yrs and my ex-husband wants to retire but as long as he knows I want what’s for me he keep on working and forgets the retirement. He wants to go buy a house secretly but I found out so how can he pay my retirement early cuz at the moment he don’t want to give me anything. Cause his girlfriend says so

    1. If you were awarded a portion of his retirement in the divorce, be sure you file the Qualified Domestic Relations Order that puts the plan on notice that you own a portion of it. Generally, you should be able to collect once that is in place and he has reached the earliest age of retirement, even if he doesn’t retire and continues working.

  14. I have a question .. I was married for 29 years .. I been recently divorce .. He had a lot of affairs so i file .. I gave him the house , new suv , truck , cabin in e mountain, 2 boats , i gave him everything .. I walked with the equity of the house which was 30 thousand an 1,200.00 a month in alimony for yrs.. I wasnt thinking at the time but am i eligible for part of his retirement .. Divorce was in the state of Pa.. Thank you

    1. If you gave him everything including the retirement, then you wouldn’t receive part of the retirement. If your divorce agreement says that you were to get part of the retirement, and you filed the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) and served it on the plan administrator, then you should receive payments. If your divorce agreement didn’t mention the retirement, then see an attorney about opening up your case again to divide that omitted asset.

  15. I worked for a shipping co. for 50 years and retiring . Married now 9 yrs. but getting divorced. We live in fla. wife is expecting 50% of my pension. Is there a 10 yr. benchmark where she gets half or a percentage of contribution put into fund those 9 yrs. of marriage?

  16. My husband and I are getting a divorce, we have been married for 10 yrs. He just retired from the military. I filed and requested the house and part of his retirement money because I was the homemaker and put a lot of work into everything and he did nothing but pay some bills. He sent a letter back that he is denying giving me any of his retirement money. Can he do that? Or will we have to go to court. I told him we need mediation because we have a child together he said he can get a lawyer and we don’t need mediation.

    1. You get 30% of his retirement he also has to pay child support until the child is 18, if the child goes to college, he continues to pay. In the military, there is a 9 year mark, after which you get where you get 30%. He has no choice.Military WILL make him, they will automatically deduct the payments out of his paychecks and send them to you. So no worries. You can still consult an attorney to put your mind at ease though. I hope this helps.

      1. I was married for 20 years I have him everything except my daughter and my car and I got half of his retirement … We have been divorced for 3 years and I know they went to court on the retirement two years ago and I still have herd anything on receiving my part. I’ve ask my ex to ask about me getting it but it falling on deaf ears.how do I go about finding out what to do to get my half.

  17. I am filing for divorce my husband received an inheritance, and he dumped it in our house hold account then transferred it out two weeks later to another account that doesn’t have my name on it. Am I entitled to these funds now since he co mingled the funds? Also what percentage am I entitled to his retirement? We have been married 15 years?

    1. It doesn’t sound like he commingled the funds. He deposited them into an existing account, and then shortly thereafter transferred them out of that account into a separate account. As to what portion of his retirement you are entitled to, consult an attorney familiar with the laws of your state. Each state is different.

  18. I have a question…I was married for 20 years and I divorced him for being unfaithful. We both remarried but he annulled our marriage. I have been married for 15 years. He works for the school. Am I eligible for part of his TRS? (Teacher Retirement System)

    1. If your marriage was annulled in a court of law, then you were never married and likely you wouldn’t be eligible for part of his TRS. If you were divorced in a court of law, then you’ll need to look at your divorce agreement to see what it says.

      1. I divorced my ex only after two years of marriage. He is in the union and has a retirement and a 401 k. We agreed that i would take 100% of 401k and leave pension alone due to the fact that he is 15 years my jr. He cant retire until 2040. There was a QDRO and was done by 3rd party, went to plan administrator, was approved sent back to 3rd party, drawn up(QDRO) and sent to my atty. My atty in turn let me know that in this union i get all the 401k up til the divorce date. But, suprising to me i am also still getting part of his retirement. As long as i live that long. Ok, my dilemma is i cant get the 401k for 2 years, which my atty didnt even know this b4 hand and had me believing i would receive right away all because he didnt do his homework and this cause alot of problems for me as i took out 2 personal loans at high interest thinking i was getting this money. Is there anything i can do to the atty? 2nd ? Is that even after the plan administrator approved and judge signed off the plan administrator now sent a letter stating that the agreement is being forwarded to their atty for interpretation? I dont understand this! The 2 years count cant start until the 401k is set up in my name! Im really confused and my atty, well he doesnt know crap about union divorces. Please help thank you.

        1. Here’s my understanding of 401(k)s and QDROs, and I’m no expert on QDROs: The money an employee contributes to a 401(k) is his money, without restriction. Money an employer contributes to a 401(k) can have strings attached, such as a waiting period until it becomes available. The alternate payee named in the QDRO (that would be you) must abide by the same restrictions that govern the employee.
          The QDRO can provide that your share of the funds stay in the plan, be transferred to an IRA in your name, or paid out to you (and of course you’d pay income taxes on whatever you received in the payout). Which of these applies depends on what you chose to provide in the QDRO when it was drafted. Any funds in the 401(k) that have restrictions cannot be paid out until those restrictions are lifted.
          It seems to me that the portion of the plan attributable to the employee contributions and earnings on those contributions should be available to be paid out to you immediately. So perhaps the QDRO was drafted to say your share of the funds will remain in the 401(k), rather than saying that it will be paid out to you. You probably need to get someone who drafts QDROs to read through yours and interpret what it says for you. Too bad the 3rd party who drafted it didn’t explain the provisions to you and what options you had before you signed it. Find out if the QDRO can be amended in some way to get your money to you faster (immediate payout provision, for example).

  19. Question..I been divorced now for 12 yrs. And it’s in the divorce about a Quadro for his pension. Which he’s been collecting since 2008.I never received a penny. Now I got my lawyer in this and the Union lawyer as well. But I don’t understand they are asking me if I want to take a early retirement.His pension I think is combined but he gets a separate check. How does this work?and am I entitled to back pension from all those years

    1. You will have to ask the attorneys about whether you are entitled to back pension. If you had not filed the QDRO, then the plan didn’t know you had an interest in the plan and made payments to your former spouse. You’ll probably have to go after him legally to get the payments that were awarded to you in the divorce but he ended up receiving. As for early retirement, I don’t know what the implications of that are, so you’ll need to ask the plan administrator to give you an explanation.

  20. married 30 years, no debt, except the house (PITI $980), no kids, lots of stuff, ex-husband is staying in the house, I’m moving to be near my parents.
    Husband files for separation Apr 24 2012 (very important date in Indiana), pleads destitute and insolvent, (net income/month $5600), wants support form me.
    Verbally, emotionally gets me to leave the house before I could moving anything….I’ve abandoned the house and it’s ALL his.
    Divorced Jun 2018…words you don’t want to see in your decree….ATTEMPT to refinance the house and remove my name…he attempted, denied, he lied on the applications….my name is still on the house and deed..and he got the house in the divorce. EQUAL earning potential…not even close. QDRO, make sure they list the DATE TO BE SEGREGATED and address GAINS AND LOSES…mine didn’t, I’m now paying for my 5th lawyer, and the 6th lawyer is starting to collect on the judgment during the appeal to the supreme court! list every thing you want, get appraisals…I didn’t do this, because my income was $1100/month..so he kept much my stuff, and made out good with the dishonest appraiser. During the final hearing, have current values on the assets, not face value,(life insurance, 401K, etc) and values of all at separation, so the judge can use the correct numbers in his calculations.
    when your name stays on a mortgage and your monthly income just covers the payment, even with the best FICO score, you can’t get credit!
    I think I covered the high points..and ones that cost me dearly.

      1. It’s in Texas. I wonder how much can accrual in 5 years?? He’s trying to leave me homeless with my baby, no job , no car, as I’m a full time student but he said he wants me to fail and be homeless. He’s been with his job about 28 years and has pension retirement through local union. WHAT DO I DO PLEASE HELP

  21. We were married for 18 years. I agreed to give my spouse 50% of my pension. She is now going after 70%. Is it a law in Pennsylvania that the other spouse is entitled to half of my pension? Her attorney was given the (QDRO). I have been paying her monthly spousal support (no children) for 2 years, garnished from my weekly check and she is now going for alimony. In PA, there is no rule for alimony, I am told it depends on length of marriage, etc. What it seems to all come down to is the Judge or
    Court master. I cannot wrap my head around this! Why should any spouse have to support the other spouse when both spouses worked the duration of the marriage….my income was more than hers, and I have been paying her for 2 years and agreed to pay additional 2 years alimony. My gosh, how long can a person rely on someone else to support them!!! Plus in 15 years she will get my pension that “I” worked for. Pennsylvania’s divorce laws are ridiculous! I have a sister who lost her husband at age 42, she received his pension for 5 years. That’s it! When shes 62 she will get his pension, if she doesn’t remarry…..BUT this was not a choice. How can divorced people make out better than people who lose their loved ones because of death? Someone please enlighten me. Your insight would be appreciated.

    1. In many states retirement earned during the marriage is marital property that is divisible. If that’s the law in your state, you’ll be entitled to a share of her retirement as well as her being entitled to a share of yours.

  22. In my divorce I received half of my husbands 401K but have to use someone that the Fire department uses to get my part. I got the papers from that firm and i have to pay them $400.00 to do this but in the paperwork it states that if my husband doesn’t do his part I won’t get my half and I will not get a refund. What should I do? What type of attorney should I seek?

    1. Ask the firm what they suggest that you do if he won’t sign the papers he is required to sign. You may need to go back to court to get the court to appoint someone to sign on his behalf if he won’t follow court orders.

  23. Hi Ginita,

    I am a 49 year old woman and am mid-divorce but no proposal has been made yet. From previous discussions with my husband it seems he will give me the house which I will have to sell as long as I don’t touch his retirement. The profit from the house would exceed a splitting of our assets (his retirement and house proceeds). My gut tells me to just take the house and let him keep his retirement but everyone keeps insisting I go after his retirement. I’m trying to educate myself on why splitting everything and taking part of his retirement is a better option. Any help is welcome.

    1. If your cash from escrow after paying all closing costs is greater than the total he has in retirement, then taking the house and selling it sounds like a good way for you to go. But also look to see if your gain in the house is greater than the $250,000 capital gain exclusion that you can get from selling your principal residence. If it is greater, there will be taxes to be paid when you sell, so you’ll need to take that into account.

  24. Joyce M Davidson

    The saddest thing about these situation .. The person you loved no longer loves you after serveral years, kids and being homemakers. You spent too many years investing in them , while they was investing in them. This should be a lesson learn but for some of the clmments it wasn’t.

  25. I will be divorce by this Friday! We had been married and lived in the same house for 2 years and 4 months and separated in the process of getting divorce for 1 year 9 months. By the time that I will be retired I will have put 41 years of retirement. He is asking me for half of my retirement in the future. Can he do that? is he going to get 1/2 of my retirement just because we were married and lived together for 2 years and 4 months??

    1. In most states, a portion of the pensions belongs to both of you, generally measured by the time you were married and before you separated divided by the total time you worked under the plan. So that’s 2.33 years out of 41 years that would belong to both of you, which is about 6% of the total time, so he’d be entitled to half of that, around 3% of your pension, and you’d get the rest. But check with an attorney to see if that’s what will happen in your state. Who gets what should be spelled out in your divorce agreement.

  26. Hello,
    I have been divorced for 5 years and per our divorce settlement I will receive $1000 a month from his pension upon retirement. My ex retired last month but he informed me I will only be getting $721 a month. The divorce papers specifically state $1000 and do not indicate he will be taking out taxes upfront. Does this sound accurate?

  27. Hi, I have been married 17 years separate 3 for those years. We’re now filing for divorce I’m I entitled to his pensions? And how does that work.

  28. Hubby and I have been married for 30 years this year, separated for the last 10 years. He is 50 and draws disability from his job of 16 years. I am 50 as well, am I entitled to any of his disability beneifts?

  29. If ex-husband has recently just started receiving pension payments and I just started the QDRO process (which was told by lawyer could be 6-9 months before completed), do plan administrators retro pay?

    1. I believe there is a legal document your attorney can file on the plan administrator preventing them from paying your portion of the payments to your spouse, pending the completion of the QDRO. Talk to your attorney to find out how to accomplish this.

  30. Aloha,

    I am in a si.ilar situation as J.L. (posted on July 12th 2018). My decree gave me 50% 0f my exhusband’s annuity/pension. My decree stated for the annuity I can take it out anytime I pleased so I with drew half and wanted the other half. They wouldn’t give it to me. So I got an attorney and send the union summons to appear on court 3 times, they never showed so I won on default. When I tried to get the money from the union they took me to court. Can they do that? Then I found out my exhusband and girlfriend at this time purchased $1.2 million dollar home and he used part of his pension money that I own 50% of to put a hefty $500,000.00 deposit. He has been on the union for 20 years. If I own 50% shouldn’t have I been i formed or asked permission for him to withdrawl? How come he can get his money anytime but the union won’t help me.

    1. It sounds as though you need legal advice, and to seek documents from your spouse to find out whether there’s an undivided account. Your attorney also needs to advise you on what you should do to get your share of the retirement that has been divided.

  31. my ex husband just recently retired from his Verizon full-time job, we got divorce 7 years now, I filed QDRO before,
    My question is how can I find out when can I collect my share from his retirement pension plan?

  32. Ruth P Morrow

    I just recently found out that my ex-husband closed a joint IRA account without informing me. I have no idea where he has put this money. Can he legally remove my name off the account? We have been divorced 20 years and I have lost the divorce decree, although I know that I got half his retirement in the divorce settlement.

    1. IRAs are never held jointly, they are always in just one person’s name. If you were awarded a portion of an IRA in his name, you should take steps to have your half transferred to an IRA in your name. Since the account has been closed, you may need to take him back to court to get this done, if he doesn’t cooperate with you to get your share transferred to your name.

    1. When she reaches social security retirement age 62 or older, she can begin collecting social security benefits on your earnings history, as long as you have also applied for your benefits. If you and she divorce, she will not have to wait for you to apply for your benefits, as long as you are of retirement age 62 or older.

  33. Hi I need an advice. So I have a 401k retirement plan at my work and my husband did not contribute any amount on it. And we are getting divorce. My question is my husband in tittle to get some of that money? Even he did not contribute any dollar amount? Pls help me

    MVB

  34. *For a friend*
    A friend of ours has been seperated for 6 years. His estranged wife started calling him recently demanding financial assistance. She has threatened with taking all his retirement money. The poor guy is worried and for lack of a better word: a little slow. They live in Texas which is a community property state. Can she take his retirement benefits?

  35. My sister did a quick divorce after husband’s many affairs. She asked for 2 yrs support.
    Now 3 yrs out, he’s collecting on his SSI & several 401k. Does she have any recourse to file for any amount? They were married 38yrs, she adopted his 2 girls. As well as he adopted her 2 boys .

  36. My ex was court ordered to pay me half of his pension. Today he informed me he was leaving the country in August with a smile. Can he withhold my share and if he does what can I do about it before he flees

    1. You need to have a Qualified Domestic Relations Order prepared and filed on the plan administrator. That way, they will know that your share of the plan is yours, and will make payment to you when called for in the plan.

  37. Married 33 yrs husband is bread winner he wants divorce we own house land boat rv 2 cars a shop with apt attached. We have 1 child still in school what am I entitled to

  38. My husband of 35yrs passed away in sept 2018 My daughter got his 401k. We were still living in the same house we never separated.
    Am I not entitled to most of his 401k, ? I’m struggling trying to keep my home.

    1. In many states, a spouse has a right to her spouse’s retirement accounts after his death. You’ll need to talk to someone who knows the laws of your state, and who can advise you on taking legal action to recover those funds from your daughter if you were entitled to the funds and she received them.

  39. Victoria Jane Benjamin

    I was married for 26 years to an Indiana State Employee. Upon our divorce my lawyer told me his 401k was protected and I could not access my half until his retirement which was not for 20+ years. I have been on disability since 2010 and now so financially destitute that I live with my parents. Do I have any recourse to get my portion of his 401k or will I be forced to wait him out?

    1. His pension cannot be paid out until his retirement, and so you will have to wait until then. 401(k) plans are generally divisable and you can access your portion or roll it into an IRA, depending on the terms of your Qualified Domestic Relations Order. If you have not prepared a QDRO, do so right away to protect your interest in the 401(k) and also in the pension.

  40. I can no longer work and I am receiving about $300 from my social security every month. My husband works in the union and I get health insurance from his work. I have health issues and constantly go to for checkups at the Kaiser. We have been married for over 25 years. What am I entitled too ??

    1. When he retires and begins getting benefits, he will need to name you as beneficiary after he dies, so he will get benefits until then and after that you will get benefits. While he’s working it sounds as though you are entitled to health insurance from his work.

  41. I am 61, my husband is 57. He would like to retire NOW. If he retires, can we access HIS 401k immediately without early withdrawal tax/fees since I am 61 years old?

    1. That should work. Here are the rules: if you are between the ages of 55 and 59½ when you leave the employer that is your 401(k)’s plan sponsor, you can withdraw funds penalty-free provided you leave the money in that 401(k) plan. This special early age withdrawal provision applies as early as age 50 for certain types of public safety workers such as federal fireman, federal law-enforcement, and air traffic controllers.

      1. THANK YOU Ginita (I like your name!)….so even though it is HIS 401k and **he** is only 57, but **I** am 61, we **can** access the 401k money because we are a community property state, Texas?

  42. My husband of 20 yrs decided he wants to seperate 2 months prior to our house lease being up in Oct. I have no money, job or car. We live in NC and we have to live seperate for 1 yr before divorce. He already signed a new lease on another house rental for himself and I’m being left to float in the wind. We have 4 children (2 minors). He told me he would give me 1/2 his retirement (which is only 3 yrs worth) which he claims is $11,000 so I would get $5500 to get a junk car and for deposit and first month rent somewhere. He wants me to sign something saying that I will not come after any future retirement savings(He’s 44 and I’m 48) When I said let me think about it he got angry and said if I don’t sign it, I’d have to wait till we officially divorce. He knows I’m financially stuck and can’t afford a lawyer. I have no money or time to wait for a year. Should I sign the paper?

    1. You should not do anything until you talk to someone about what your legal rights are (unless you have done that and already know that what he is offering is a good deal compared to what you’d get under the laws of your state).

    2. Absolutely NOT my ex had convinced me the 0 year lie, AS WELL as completely leaving his so far 13 year Military career out of EVERYTHING! He said if I fight any of it he will take his name off of the family apartment we have lived in for $ years and have my evicted followed by going after our youngest together (oldest daughter has her own father) being a stay at home mom for her entire 10 year life he KNEW I didn’t have lease worthy credit let alone the income requirement. Honestly I’m worried every day that he will pull the lease for any little thing. I’ve been hired with Amazon, fixing my credit like crazy to give my daughters EVERYTHING THEY DESERVE! He completely used manipulation my fear of failing my girls to get away with everything. Until one day two months ago I started really getting mad that I’m still under his control and he set most parts of this up to control custody and support. So I googled that 10 year rule and it BS!!! It only decides who sends the ex spouse their half the mil or the ex!!!! I was nieve, and could imagine that the man I loved for 10 years, served overseas and was upstanding and moral, would do this to the mother of his child and our girls. But they can and they will

  43. Hi Ginita,

    My parents have been divorced for 30 years. They were married for a little over 3 years. My father just recently retired at the age of 58 and has asked me to provide my mother with a waiver of pension and annuity benefits from his Union. My mother has decided not to sign the waiver, and has contacted the Union and informed them as well. The union rep is going to mail my mother a copy of the QDRO form she needs to fill out and send back. My question is… since their divorce has been finalized for 30 years, when signing and filling out the QDRO form, will my parents have to attend another court hearing? Or will the Union simply file this QDRO form and handle the dividends themselves?

    1. If she was awarded a portion of his retirement account when they divorced, then the QDRO will reflect the terms of that agreement. If the retirement account was awarded entirely to your father, then unless they renegotiate the terms of that agreement and reflect their new agreement in the QDRO, she won’t get anything. If the divorce agreement didn’t deal with that plan, and your dad was employed under the plan at the time of divorce, then they will have to negotiate how the plan is to be divided between them. If they can’t agree, then your mom could ask an attorney to petition the court to divide an overlooked asset.

  44. I have a qdro on file on my ex husband pension plan. The plan administrator approved it said its qualified. When I emailed the plan administrator when can I make request for for withdrawal and have these funds rolled over to my own ira.
    The plan administrator said You can’t make a request for a roll over until he retires in about 2 years and or if your ex goes back in to covered employment where his retirement annuity accts are then you might be able make a request distribution .
    The qdro was filed last year at this time. The only information I have is it’s a life time annuity’s. I have gotten no information if they transferred any of my portion that I was awarded in a separate account in my name. How do you go about obtaining this information when the plan administrator doesn’t give that out?

  45. Divorcing after 34 yrs am I entitled to half his 401K and retirement? Also my 18 yr old daughter fixing graduate high school n plans on med school do I still get child support with her being in college. Also do I get alimony. He is the bread winner I am homemaker

    1. The laws of each state are different, but it is likely that you are entitled to 401k and retirement in such a long marriage. That is dependent on the laws of your state, as are child support and alimony, so check with someone who knows the laws in your locale.

  46. My husband’s ex wife agreed to 5000.00 From his retirement as a stipulation for divorce granted, they were married almost five years, they had one child whom after a DNA test was not his , she got him for a year of child support to the tune of 1000.00 a month plus 250.00 a month for the 5000.00 which he still owes half ….he has now changed jobs and she placed a qdro on his retirement stating she wants half of his 12 years account is she intitled to half as she saying or just the balance of 5000.00 which is in their divorce decree.

  47. I am 45. Me and my ex husband been divorced since 2008 but was married for over 10 years. We live in Louisiana. He recently retired and is 62 years old. He now draws his retirement. Am I entitled to any of his retirement? An if so when should I be able to file for it. There were no clauses in the divorce as I drew up the contract myself.

    1. You can apply for reduced social security retirement benefits once you are 62, as long as he is at least 62. If you are talking about employer retirement plans, I don’t know the answer. You’ll have to talk to someone who knows the laws of your state about how that works where you are, under your conditions.

  48. I was married in California in 1993 and never divorced. Husband works for a big aerospace Corp and is ex military. We are both 57. He did file at one point, but it never got the official seal, as he never finished paying the lawyer, therefore, we’re still legally married.
    He owns no property, just a car but makes over $100k/annually. What rights do I have as far as his retirement benefits? Do I have to wait until he retires to claim anything? I am destitute and in public housing due to illness. Also, would I need to get a lawyer in CA or in my current state?

    1. When he retires for any pension plan he has he will need to elect to have you get retirement benefits when he dies. If you and he divorce before then, you will file a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to identify your share of his plan, and you will begin getting payments from your share when he retires. Meanwhile, spouses have a duty to support each other, so if he has income and you do not, if he refuses to pay you voluntarily you will need to file a petition with the court requesting support.

  49. I need a help, my husband got divorce his ex wife 2012 and we got married 2015. My husband is almost retiree in 2 years and half more. He been married with his ex wife more than 10 years but then they are separated long time without divorce until they got divorce 2012. My husband went to SS and he told by me that he already update his information to SS. However, i still doubt as he told me that i need to earn 10 years before i get the share of his retirement when he reach his 66 and half year while his EX Wife is eligible to receive his retirement share as they’re being married for more than 10 years. My question is, is it true that even i’m the wife now, i do still need to wait until our married become 10 years? while his Ex wife is getting on his retirement? And, How about if he didn’t update his information and he didn’t declare that he is already divorce and got a new wife?

      1. His ex wife is probably listed as alternative payee and beneficiary on his defined benefits through employment per divorce decree. He may very well be informing wife it will take 10 years to build a retirement annuity for 2nd wife sufficient enough for 2nd wife within a 401 plan. Husband cannot reassign or change entitled first spouse. SS benefits 2nd wife would meet eligibility as long as the marriage doesn’t end in divorce before 10 yrs.

  50. Am I entited to my husband retirement after 10 years of marriage? This would be military service, civil service, and SSI?

    1. In many states, you are entitled to a portion of your spouse’s retirement earned during marriage. As for social security retirement benefits, you can receive benefits based on your own earnings history or your spouse’s, whichever gives the greatest benefit.

  51. My husband and I have been married for over 20 years. We’re separated and live in different states…..him in WV and me in TX. He’s works for the state and is set to retire in a couple of years and was recently awarded a settlement from a lawsuit. Am I entitled to part of his pension and settlement?

    1. Hi. I am from Washington state.
      I was married in 2007, and I filed for a divorce June of 2019.
      We separated in 2015 but not legally. We are still very much legally married.
      My question is, am I still eligible to receive part of his pension or 401(k)? Technically we have been married for 12 years, but not “together” for all 12.
      We are in the middle of a divorce and going to trial and I have no money for an attorney, so I am curious to see if I am eligible for part of his plan if I clukd take it out to help pay for a lawyer?

      1. It is likely that you are entitled to a portion of his pension and 401(k). Once you have negotiated the divorce agreement, you can have a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) drawn up and served on the plan administrator to identify your portion of the plan. For some plans, you can also say in that QDRO that you want some or all of your portion to be paid out to you now rather than rolled into an IRA for you. And you could use those funds to help pay for a lawyer. Alternatively, you could petition the judge to have him borrow money from his 401(k) and give you part of it to pay your legal fees. Those funds will reduce what you are entitled to in the final settlement, of course, since you received them now.

  52. I have a question and need a answer please!! I go to court for my divorce on november 19th to sign the papers and be finished with my divorce bit i want to know .. I know i have to give my wife some of my 401 k but does the amount she gets stop adding up on the date we go to court or when i retire… If anyone has any information please let me know…
    Please and thank you very much

  53. My husband and I separated 2 years ago, after 20 years of marriage. Our “uncontested” divorce was final on 10/31, with no financial agreement in place- only a verbal agreement that he will continue to pay for everything for our daughter (now 18 and graduated), make the payment on the 2015 vehicle WE purchased and I will keep the vehicle. Also we agreed that he will continue to pay the insurance on that vehicle. He was also supposed to keep me on his medical insurance but since he wants to get remarried right away, we had to divorce and he cannot keep me on his medical. I’m 54 and did not work outside of the home for 17 years of our marriage. My ex husband is not 62, had a 30+ year career with the federal government and receives PERS retirement. His first wife is also collecting funds from his retirement account. My question is… Am I also entitled to part of that retirement account?

    1. If part of his retirement account was earned during the marriage, then you likely are entitled to a portion of it under the laws of your state. So when you do get around to doing the financial agreement portion of your divorce, be sure you include how much of his retirement you are entitled to. Then, using that documentation, you can have a QDRO prepared and filed on the plan administrator, and they can begin making payments to you.

  54. I am divorced. My husband died in 2013 I get his pension sine 2014 and they took my SSI and replaced it for his money. Now my son called me and he is going to get his retirement fund. Am I entitle to a portion of that also?

    1. If you were awarded a portion of your former spouse’s retirement fund in the divorce, then you are entitled to a portion of that. To notify the plan administrator of your interest in the plan, you should have filed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order with the administrator. Since your ex now is deceased, if you didn’t file that order before, it may be too late to file such an order. If you were awarded a portion of that plan and it ends up being distributed to your son by the plan administrator, then you likely have an enforceable claim against your son for your portion.

    2. Most plan administrators will require a divorce decree including property settlement agreement to determined who get what regarding pension distributions or otherwise a signed spousal waiver agreeing to forfeit spousal benefits if someone other than wife is assigned wife’s entitlement. Husband may assigned his community property share to someone other than spouse but unless wife has predeceased spouse in a community property state any defined pension plan cannot alienate benefit from non employee spouse unless non employee spouse or ex spouse signed and filed pension waiver form with plan administrator. Otherwise a determination is made based on the length of marriage and length of separation based on years of service.

  55. I have a couple of questions. My divorce was final in 2014, just under 10 years of marriage, and she was awarded half my pension and annuity. I’m a union ironworker in the state of Ohio and I’ve had other ironworkers tell me that she wasn’t entitled to it because we weren’t married for 10 years or longer. So was she entitled to half my pension and annuity?
    Second question
    She was court ordered to have her attorney separate the quadro for my pension and annuity and has only had her attorney separate the pension and not the annuity because she doesn’t want me to have my money which she knows I can’t do anything with until it’s separated. it is now December of 2019 and my fiancee and I are trying to by a home and I need the money from my annuity to put down and my ex wife refuses to seperate it. Is there anything I can do to make her seperate it? It was already court ordered for her to do so in 2014, so is there any time frame on how long she has to seperate it or lose what she was entitled to?

    1. In many states, retirement earned during the marriage is marital property, and it doesn’t matter how long you were married. I would trust the advice of an attorney who knows the laws of your state over the opinions of fellow ironworkers. You could ask the court to appoint someone to have the paperwork prepared to separate the annuity, or you could have it prepared yourself.

      1. You should also check the laws of your state yourself because sometimes attorneys overlook things. I believe some QUDRO holds will expire after 18 months and hold may be unblocked. Contact your plan administrator or QUDRO administrator to verify the action on file and what you may do to utilize your portion.

  56. My husband was prevously married and had a ira before he was married to his ex spouse and is she able to recieve his ira with out him getting notified?

    1. If she was awarded a portion of his IRA, those funds likely were transferred to an IRA in her name. If he has named her as beneficiary on the IRA, then upon his death she would get the funds. If she was not awarded part of his IRA and is not named as beneficiary, then I don’t see how she would be entitled to any portion of his IRA.

      1. You should talk to your spouse about this touchy subject or ask to see a copy of divorce decree and property settlement agreement. I’m sure this is a major concern for you and unfortunately we don’t ask these question prior to marriage therefore leaving these things as a mystery causes conflicts and stress in marriages. Reviewing the property settlement agreement may help you avoid financial surprises in the future. Plan for yourself and spouse also in case of death or separation.

  57. My husband and I moved in together 6 years ago and been married 5. I suffer with Bipolar, social anxiety, manic depressive. I was married before for 26 years and because I have not worked enough throughout my life to pay in any social security and filed for ssi and started drawing off my husband. My husband now knew from the beginning I have medical issues medications Doctor appts ect…He knew I couldn’t go without insurance as well and he agreed I wouldnt work due to my illness. It’s been a very bad relationship. I’ve caught him talking to woman and men sexually even talked to a lover that told me he would come to our garage while I was sleeping to meet my husband. Eventually after catching him multiple times he has become abusive! Physically and mentally! He dont let me leave the house takes away my phone, car, tells me this is his house which we have got since we been married. I need to get away from him or I’m afraid he will seriously hurt me or worse. Please tell me my options cause he dont give me money or let me go any where. I’m scared to leave but scared to stay..please help me with advice!

  58. I have been married over 20 years. I am 60 years old and 11 years older than my husband. We are still married but he wants to divorce. Can I take the portion of his pension/retirement funds at my retirement age or do I have to wait until his age of retirement? This could mean I would be in my 80’s before I could receive it. Also, if he would be deceased before his retirement age, and have remarried, would I still be able to receive the pension portion or would it be tied up in an estate? Additionally, would this affect my getting half of his social security funds when I am of retirement age? (I think my retirement age would be considered to be 66 years and 10 months).

    1. Once your divorce terms have been negotiated, you can have your share of any IRAs put into your name and you can draw on them as needed. Any portion of his 401(k) plans that you have been awarded will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to divide. Once that has been accepted by the plan administrator, your share of those 401(k)s can be transferred to an IRA in your name for you to draw on as you need them. The pension will also need a QDRO to divide, and if the plan doesn’t allow you to have a lump sum transferred to your IRA (most pensions don’t) your share can be paid to you once he reaches the earliest age at which he can retire, whether he retires or not. If he dies before he reaches retirement date, you would receive whatever payout the plan provides for the employee’s survivors. When you and he are both of retirement age (62 or older) you can collect divorced spouse benefits based on his earnings history, or your own benefits, whichever is higher. If he dies, you are eligible to get surviving divorced spouse benefits or your own benefits, whichever is higher. Until then, you can collect based on your own earnings history, once you are of retirement age (at 62 you can get reduced benefits, or wait until 66+ and get full benefits.

  59. I was divorced 20 years ago (California) . I just received a copy of a letter that was sent to my ex-husband from a Pension Fund that he is now applying to receive benefits. I never knew about this pension fund, this pension was not disclosed during our divorce and was not included in the divorce settlement. There is a QDRO filed for a separate pension which states I will receive half of the funds for the time we were married (19 years). The pension that he is applying for now was being contributed to for a total of 22 years – 15 of those years we were married. I was raising our children for 13 out of the 19 years we were married. Can I now file a QDRO on this “new” pension that has surfaced?

    1. You cannot file a QDRO on the new pension because the QDRO is based on your divorce agreement. So you will have to open up your divorce to amend it for disposition of an after-discovered asset, I believe.

  60. My husband both worked. He earned much more than me, but both of us are retired now. I’m in my 60’s and he’s in his 70’s, so our only child is an adult living on his own in Wisconsin. Our only income is his annuity and both of our social security benefits. He purchased the annuity before we got married. The annuity ends when he dies. There is no life insurance policy and no savings, etc. to sustain me if he should he die before me. We have spent all of my retirement funds that I earned on purchasing our home. We married in Ohio and have been married for 15 years. If we divorce, will he have to give me a portion of his annuity as alimony? I know I would be responsible for half of our debt, which is a lot, but I can’t live like this any longer. The stress is killing me.

    1. If the annuity was earned during marriage, it may be in your state that you would be awarded part of it. If not, and if your state imposes an obligation on him to support you, you might be able to get alimony based on his income being considerably higher than yours. You’ll need to find out what the laws of your state provide in situations like this.

  61. I live in Texas, My husband and I have been married for over 5 years. During our marriage I had a house and he had his house. After, we got married my house was destroyed by the tenants and I could not afford to keep it so I lost it in foreclosure. We moved to a new city and bought a house together. He told me that he would take care of the bills since I left my job of 20 years and give me his retirement and 401K , since I could not afford the house with my earnings. I found out recently that he has his daughter as his beneficiary for his retirement. Am I entitled to any of his retirement since I lost the house and job for him if I get a divorce. Can his ex wife get his retirement when she got the house in the divorce?

    1. His former wife got whatever she got in divorce, which may have included a portion of his retirement. He’d have to look at his divorce agreement to find out, unless he remembers.

      As for what you are entitled to, if he promised in a legal document (generally called a prenuptial agreement or post-marital agreement) to give you a portion of his retirement, then you likely will receive what he legally obligated himself to give you, unless he had already given that to his ex-wife in an earlier divorce agreement.

      And if you don’t have a pre-nup or post-marital agreement, you may still be entitled to a portion of his retirement by operation of Texas law.

  62. William C. Paul

    MY BROTHER RECENTLY PASSED AWAY, MY QUESTION IS WHAT PERCENTAGE OF HIS PENSON IS HIS EX WIFE ENTITLED TO. THEY WERE DIVORCED 4YRS AGO IN THE STATE OF OHIO.

  63. 22 years of marriage, 15 of which I didn’t work. I’m currently working in Alabama because I have no where to live back home (my company is paying my hotel stay while in Alabama). We have no kids together, but he was involved in spending or using my student loan money back in the day….which I’m under a garnishment where they are taking 15% of my paycheck twice a month(Yes, that’s 60% of my wages for the last 8.5 months, I think that’s a whole new attorney question). LoL
    My question:
    Am I entitled to anything, his retirement, pension or a “maintenance fee” so I will be able to afford a place to live, without it being in an unsafe neighborhood.
    He says he has spoken to his judge friends (he just retired in December from the police Dept ) and they told him all he needs to do is file online for $200 and send me the papers to sign.
    Is it time for me to hire my own attorney?

    Thank you for any advise you send me.

    1. You are likely entitled to a share of the assets accumulated during marriage and possibly support, if his income is substantially greater than yours. It is likely that the judge was telling him how he could file for divorce, which opens a court file. Then you can petition the court for support and use of marital assets while you are going through divorce negotiations. It would probably be helpful for you to talk to a divorce professional in your state.

  64. Jeanette R McDougal

    My husband of 23 years abandoned me and my 2 kids, ages 14 and 16 after I discovered he had an affair for many years. Since leaving in January 2020, he hasn’t given me any money to help with the bills or financially support the kids. After a recent discussion he agreed to give me 1/2 of his retirement. However, he recently, withdrew $30,000.00 from his retirement account. How can I retain my 1/2 during the divorce? Also, since the house was purchased by him prior to marriage, can I still receive it. I have been paying the mortgage the majority of the time during the marriage. Please advise.
    Thanks,
    Jeanette

    1. You may need to file for divorce, if your state has temporary restraining orders against raiding accounts once you file for divorce, and you should serve those restraining orders on the plan administrator for the plan. In many states, the assets that were there as of the date he left would be what is divided, so you would get more of what’s left to make up for him taking $30,000. You probably need to request support once you file for divorce, since he isn’t reliable in providing you with money for your support and the support of the kids. How the home is treated depends on the laws of your state, so you’ll need to find that out from someone knowledgeable about the law where you are, or research it yourself (just be sure that whatever you find is specific to your state, and not some other state.)

  65. Manuela Figueroa

    I was divorced in 2012 my ex told me that because he only worked for a company for 1 year that I was not entitled to his 401k and other employment he had 401k and I believed him I was disabled at the time of divorce and it’s still disabled. I have Lupus I have Lupus and there is no chance of me ever going back to work when we first went to court he agreed to alimony for life and then he got a girlfriend and took me back to court knowing that I couldn’t afford counsel and we were supposed to go to trial and I told my attorney I couldn’t afford her no more so she had to tell the judge that I no longer had legal counsel and everything went his way am I entitled to his 401k even though he said that I wasn’t we were married for 28 years and even now I’m in the process of almost living on the streets because I can’t afford living by myself and I don’t have any family to live no more is there a time limit whether I can take him back to court for not four in line to be about me not being eligible for the 401K when he handed over the time frame of our 28 years but because he worked at the new company it had only had only been there a year prior to our divorce help me with this

    1. You have illustrated why the last person you should take divorce advice from is your soon-to-be ex-spouse. In most states, you are entitled to a share of any assets that were acquired during the marriage. If the 401(k) was awarded to your spouse in the divorce, then it is unlikely that you can change that eight years after the divorce. You’d have to find out your state’s rules for overturning parts of your divorce.

  66. I’ve been married for 33 years. He moved out years ago and I found out that he moved his girlfriend to the same city he lives in. And I believe they have a biological daughter together. He told me not to file for divorce yet since he’ll have a pension to share with me. He plans on retiring at 62 which he is that age now. He threatened me to sign divorce papers knowing I cannot afford an attorney or I would not have any healthcare. I have multiple health issues. He earns about $190,000/year and lives a very nice life and has made his gf very rich. I saw their Scott Trade account years ago. I live in our home with no heat/air conditioning. Moldy and dilapidated. He played head games constantly to the point where I couldn’t function anymore and started having severe panic attacks and my health took a real dive, Now he’s getting ready to serve me with divorce papers that he devised with the help of most likely his brother who is an attorney. He said that I wasn’t going to have his pension after telling me for years that I would. All I have to live on is a small amount of SS. He was recently struck down by a disease that has caused him to use his disability from his job. Could turn into long term disability. But, he’s still preparing the divorce papers. I contacted a few attorneys and asked if someone would be able to sit down with me and go over the documents. And I found a lawyer who is willing to do this for a small fee. I’m familiar with QDROs. It could cost $2,000 for a professional who’s trained in this type of document? I know that he has income from multiple sources, but he denies this. I have to admit that I’m very concerned that if I push for his pension that he’ll force me out of our home. He did say that he would do a quit claim and leave me the home. I have no place to live if I lose my house. Can a lawyer search and see if someone still has a pension? Thank you for any help.

    1. It sounds like you are in a bad situation, and the threat of it getting worse is making you panic. So take a few deep breaths, then listen to me. Do not take advice from your soon-to-be ex about how things will be divided. In most states, assets acquired during the marriage must be disclosed by the parties, and divided in an equitable manner, which is often 50-50. Your attorney could subpoena employers to discover pensions, but it will be less expensive to see what your spouse discloses first. A QDRO does not cost $2,000, though it does cost something and one is needed for each plan divided, and often the spouses split the cost of the QDRO dividing the retirement plans. If his income is substantially greater than yours, he may owe you support. If you and he own the moldy and dilapidated home, and you have no way to buy out his interest in the home, you will have to sell it and use your share of the proceeds to move somewhere else, hopefully less moldy and dilapidated. If he is willing to quit claim it to you, great, but in my experience he will want something for that, typically for you to disavow any interest in his pension. Do not do that without thinking long and hard about what that means for you in the years ahead.

  67. My husband of 17 years was military retired when we married, he’s 100 disabled and and he’s receiving SS, he liquidated his 401k years ago to pay bills he incurred and now he wants a divorce . It doesn’t seem fair that because he doesn’t know how to handle money that he gets any of my 401k that I have worked 22 years to accumulate. I only see him gaining financially and me suffering

    1. I totally get the unfairness of it all. You worked hard for that money and he squandered his. I suggest you try to use mediation to work through these issues, because in mediation you and he can come to any agreement the two of you consider to be fair, even if the law says things are to be divided otherwise.

  68. After 20 years of marriage to a police officer/helicopter pilot and a Navy chief the court gave me 15 years from each of his employers in retirement. We just finished the QDRO and my ex has taken out over $50k from one account over the years and I can’t get access to the other account. How is he allowed to do this? He didn’t even have a job when I met him. I supported him in the beginning of his career. After 20 years of marriage and me thinking I’ve got all of this retirement the qdro attorney says I get $7000??? Over the lat 10 years my ex has taken out about $10k five different times? Is there anything I can do to get my share of the retirement back?

    1. Talk to your attorney about how this is viewed in your state. A key question is what did he do with the money? If he drew it out because it was needed to pay bills for your family’s lifestyle, then you might not have a case, since you already benefited from it. But if he squirreled away the funds in a hidden account or used them to support a lover, then you might be able to pursue him for return of your share of those funds, since that gave you no benefit at all.

  69. My friend got married as a teenager (18) and never got divorced. His wife left that same year and he hasn’t seen her in over 45 years. He is now retired. Can she claim part of his retirement and social security?

    1. If he contributed to a retirement plan during the time they were together, she could have a claim against that, but it is likely very small to non-existent and given that he hasn’t seen her in 45 years, I doubt she plans to make such a claim. As to the rest of his retirement plan, in a few states a spouse could claim a portion of the plan for the years after they separated, so he might want to check with someone who knows the laws of his state to find out for sure. As for social security, she can claim spousal benefits on his earnings record if those exceed her own benefits. What she gets doesn’t reduce what he gets.

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