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Am I entitled to my deceased ex-husband's pension, which I did not receive at the time of our divorce?

Hammonton, NJ |

Am I eligible to receive the portion of the pension that I was entitled to at the time of the divorce? I did not take the half of the pension that I was entitled to, nor did I sign any paperwork revoking any rights to the pension. We were married for 18 years and divorced in 1997. We have two children.

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Attorney answers 1


In order to receive a portion of a pension, the Property Settlement Agreement or Judgment of Divorce would need to establish your interest in the pension. In most matters, all property is distributed at the conclusion of the divorce via a Property Settlement Agreement or a Judgment. The Agreement or Judgment will provide a formula to determine your pension interest. After the Judgment is entered, a QDRO will need to be prepared to distribute the pension.

If the Agreement is silent as to the pension and you did not waive an interest therein, you may under very limited circumstances be able to assert a claim. There are many factors that will determine whether or not you will have an interest including, but not limited to: 1. whether or not the pension was known and disclosed prior to the Judgment being entered, 2. the type of pension; 3. whether or not you were named survivor beneficiary of the pension, if possible.

There are a variety of pensions and many have different rules. For instance, a PFRS does not allow you to be named survivor beneficiary of your spouse has not retired at the time the Judgment is entered. A military pension would require 10 years of military service and 10 years of marriage in order to create a pension interest for a spouse.

In other words, you need to contact a lawyer to review your Divorce Judgment, determine what type of pension was held by your spouse, and determine whether or not there are any legal remedies available to you.

The above discussion is intended to provide legal information and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The above is general information and not legal advice. Every case is different and the law is applied differently to each set of facts and circumstances. There is no substitute for actual legal representation by a retained attorney. Individuals are encouraged to seek counsel for their particular matter.

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