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CA divorce and husband's retirement assets

Alameda, CA |

I have been married for 18 years and my husband had an affair and is seeking a divorce. He has a retirement account and I understand that I am entitled to half of this asset. How does this work? He will be 59 in July. I am retired and 65.

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Under ERISA, you will need to obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (aka "QDRO"). Call his employer and ask for a sample form. You can start collecting your percentage of the community portion of the pension when you reach retirement age.

    John Stocks
    Auburn, WA


  2. If it's a qualified plan, it is community property during the period of the marriage, under the famous Brown case. You will need to consult with an attorney, who will arrange a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) drafted for you. This is a detailed order, which instructs the plan how to split the retirements benefits when it is finally distributed (upon his retirement).

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