My husband has 3 different pension and 401k plans. I know I'm entitled to half of each one of them. Do I have to wait until I retire to collect this money?
It depends on the type of pension. If it is a 401K plan or similar plan where there are funds in the account this will be divided at the time of the divorce. At that point you can withdraw any funds that you need immediately. Remember that the funds that are withdrawn after they have been transferred into your name will be taxed, and unless there is a reason for the withdrawal that goes to your support there will also be a 10% penalty for early withdrawal if you are not at least 59 1/2.
If the pension is one that is paid out on a monthly basis when your husband retires, then you will have to wait until he retires or reaches a certain age to start drawing on your share of the pension. You should talk to an attorney for more information about these pension issues. Good luck to you.
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Amplifying on what Mr. Gornbein said, there are several factors that enter into how much of a pension or 401k plan you are awarded. This is part of the overall division of property in a divorce case. You will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to transfer each pension and 401k where a portion is being awarded to you.
"Am divorcing" suggests the judgment has not yet been entered. You should talk with your lawyer about all this so you clearly understand your rights and so your lawyer can negotiate effectively on your behalf.
I am licensed to practice law in Michigan and Virginia and regularly handle cases of this sort. You should not rely on this answer. You should consult a lawyer so you can tell the lawyer the entire situation and get legal advice that is precisely tailored to your case.
You are entitled to half of the pension, but the law is more complex as to any portion earned before the marriage. Your attorney will need to know the dates of each of the plans. It is simpler if it was all accumulated solely during the marriage.
Some lawyers will write the QDRO for you, others will refer that work to a specialist.
We do not have a client/attorney relationship until you make an appointment, we discuss your case face to face, I accept a retainer, and we explictly agree to enter into representation.
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