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 – from Dorthy Q. in Bayside, WI

Question Details:

After 18 years of marriage, my husband and I filed for an uncontested divorce. The divorce decree states that I shall receive ½ of my ex-husband’s retirement. I’m not trying to sound greedy, I just want to understand the decree better since it doesn’t tell me when exactly I will receive it. Are these funds available immediately or do I have to wait until he retires?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This is a really good question and I would be happy to answer.

Without seeing the divorce decree myself, I cannot say with certainty what you are entitled to. But an overwhelming majority of the time, it would mean that you are not entitled to that money until your ex-husband is entitled to the money when the time comes for him to retire. However, it is important to know that there are some exceptions to this rule.

Those exceptions would be dependent on the contribution plan that your ex-husband uses for his retirement plans and what the rules are with early withdraws. Keep in mind that in most cases an early withdrawal means you would be responsible for the taxes on that money.

Either way, there are a couple of things that I would suggest you do as soon as possible.

First, I would contact his employer’s human resources department or the administrator of his retirement plan. Give them a copy of the divorce decree and find out if there is any other documentation that you need to provide for them.

Second, you’ll want to talk to your divorce attorney to make sure that everything in your divorce decree to make sure that it is certified and to make sure that you have a clear understanding of everything you are entitled to and time frames in which you can expect to receive them.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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