retirement

Your pension when the unexpected happens

What if you get a divorce?
What if you get a divorce? © kurhan/Shutterstock.com

Every state is a little different, says Cynthia Hounsell, president of Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement, or WISER. But don't hesitate to ask for at least half of your soon-to-be former spouse's pensions -- both old-fashioned defined benefit and 401(k)s, she advises. It is usually -- but not always -- the husband's pension that has to be split, but whoever has to give up something never likes it very much, Hounsell says.

Making the divorce agreement stick can be tricky. If you find yourself trying to claim part of a pension, don't settle for a promise -- written or oral -- Hounsell advises. You have to have a qualified domestic relations order, often referred to as a QDRO. "That's the ticket. If the employer doesn't have that, it isn't going to pay the pension out," she says.

A surprising number of people whose divorce settlements call for a pension to be split don't actually walk away with a QDRO, and when the time comes, they can't claim what they were given. So make sure your attorney is on top of this. "A lot of lawyers aren't," Hounsell says. "If they are family lawyers and not pension lawyers, sometimes they just don't get it."

advertisement

Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
MORTGAGE HOME EQUITY AUTO CDs CREDIT CARDS
Product Rate Change Last week
30 year fixed 4.07%  0.21 4.28%
15 year fixed 3.18%  0.08 3.26%
5/1 ARM 3.36%  0.07 3.43%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
30K FICO-based HELOC 4.36% --0.00 4.36%
50K FICO-based HELOC 4.06% --0.00 4.06%
100K FICO-based HELOC 3.91% --0.00 3.91%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
60 month used car loan 2.79% --0.00 2.79%
48 month used car loan 2.98% --0.00 2.98%
60 month new car loan 3.23% --0.00 3.23%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
1 Year CD 0.94%  0.01 0.93%
2 Year CD 1.13% --0.00 1.13%
5 Year CD 1.76%  0.00 1.76%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
Balance Transfer Cards 15.77%  0.06 15.71%
Cash Back Cards 16.48%  0.07 16.41%
Low Interest Cards 10.96%  0.10 10.86%
 
Next
advertisement
CD & INVESTING NEWSLETTER

Learn the latest trends that will help grow your portfolio, plus tips on investing strategies. Delivered weekly.

Blog

Jennie Phipps

Work less — ‘It’s a better life’

Retirement actuary Steve Vernon says working less while delaying Social Security is the best way to retire.  ... Read more

advertisement
Partner Center
advertisement

Connect with us