I just came from NJ Court. I had a QDRO drafted asking for 100% of ex spouse's pension. The Judge only awarded me half of his pension, stating that she was unaware if she could legally authorize the full amount, but if I could provide her with the specific statute citing otherwise, I could file a motion for reconsideration.
Can someone please help me? I have been online for hours researching ERISA and QDROs but I cannot find the info that I need.
Economic issues like yours can be complicated. In general, the QDRO amount is determined by the length of the marriage and the time overlap of the marriage and the time the ex-spouse was employed by the company through which he or she earned the pension.
You left out some very important information, such as the stage of your divorce case. I know of no law that permits one spouse to be awarded 100% of the other's pension. Sounds as if you are not represented; if not, get a matrimonial attorney. It's one thing to file your own divorce complaint, but it's another to try and figure out all of the economic issues, especially where there are significant assets. If you are going to get a lifetime award of at least part of a pension, then you should spend some money on an attorney's fees. Would you try to diagnose and treat your own serious illness? Of course not. You'd call a physician. Call a lawyer.
Although this advice is offered in good faith and is intended to be accurate and helpful, it is no substitute for a full consultation with an attorney of your choice, and it does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. However, I will be happy to speak with and meet you if I can help you here in New Jersey, where I have been licensed for 30 years. I accept criminal, military, ethics/professional responsibility cases, and basic estate planning matters. Good luck and best wishes with your legal issue. Regards, Lee A. Gronikowski
You need to contact the pension administrator for your husbands pension as every pension has its own rules. You may need an attorney to assist you, particularly since your judge seems unfamiliar with the QDRO process. It's unlikely that you could receive 100%, but you should be able to get more than half. However, if the issue is alimony, you could also try to get an order garnishing a portion of your husbands half of the pension as alimony, ask the pension administrator if this can be done.
As others have said, it sounds like it would be a good idea to consult with an experienced matrimonial attorney over this issue. It really doesn't need to be something that will cost a whole lot, and there should be a solution out there.
I'm also not clear exactly what the situation is. I am fairly certain that there is no prohibition under ERISA nor under New Jersey's equitable distribution statute that would prevent you from getting 100% of the pension.
However, if your intent is to enforce alimony arrears, a judge might not feel it is equitable to give you 100% of an asset that will produce income forever. As other said, I don't know whether the pension isn't a status or shortly will be. There would be several ways you could go about this – perhaps you could have 50% paid to you and 50% paid to a trust which would then pay to him until the alimony arrears are satisfied and then pay to him. Or, The judge could order that you receive 100%, subject to a provision that a new Quattro be filed after the arrears are paid awarding him 50% at that time.
As others have said, it is a tough one to call off-the-cuff here without having all the information, but I am confident that there is someway to address your situation and achieve what seems to be your goal in this.
IF YOU LIKE THIS ANSWER AND APPRECIATE THE TIME IT TOOK TO WRITE IT, PLEASE SELECT IT AS "BEST ANSWER." Thanks. The above is said without seeing your case file and without my understanding the entirety of the facts of your case. Depending on those facts, the above information be may incomplete or may be completely inaccurate. The above is intended as general information only based on what you described and not as legal advice. I advise you to consult with counsel who may be able to provide better information commensurate with a better understanding of your situation.
The company that runs the plan may have a maximum amount. But there should be nothing that requires the plan to give him his portion In other words, if the pension is in pay status you can get your portion and his portion could then be rerouted to you. If the patient is not in pay status then the plan will have guidelines for the maximum distributable amount.
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You should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Motions for reconsideration must be filed 20 days from the date of the Order. While the Plan may have certain restrictions, there is no reason that I can think of as to why the Court would limit equitable distribution if the parties agreed. In other words, while the Court may not find it equitable to distribute 100% if the issue is contested, if the parties agreed to do so, the Court should not need a statute authorizing it.
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