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.

104 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 ?

  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?

  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.

  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?

  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?


  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 .

  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

  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.

  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/ 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


  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).

  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.

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