Can you receive retirement benefits from an ex-spouse that is still in the workforce?

Senior-DivorceA potential client inquires about her ability to receive retirement benefits from an ex-husband. Though her ex-spouse is eligible to receive pension benefits at age 50, he plans to work for an additional 10 years.  Can she collect her share of benefits when he becomes eligible, or will she have to wait until he officially retires?

We responded with information regarding a Gillmore election; a method during a divorce in which one spouse receives the present value of his or her half of the other spouse’s retirement benefits. In this particular case, the judgement of the divorce was entered some time ago, leading us to believe it’s now too late to change the matter of retirement benefits. Her best bet would be to take her concerns to a family law attorney to have her question researched further.

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Can you be forced to sell your family home in a divorce settlement?

We recently answered some difficult divorce and property questions for a potential client.

PropertyDivision-17972913The Divorce Question:

A husband insists that he be reimburse for mortgage payments made during the marriage on his wife’s family home, half the credit card debt, accrued and paid off, and half of the home equity increase during the marriage. The husband has a pension and no debt. The wife is unemployed and living off of savings. The husband refused a settlement offer, and wouldn’t accept a payment plan with a promissory note and lien on the house, demanding $150,000 in cash, or a sale of the home. Are his claims for reimbursement valid? Could the court force the wife to sell her family home because he will only accept cash?

Our Answer:

You don’t reimburse him for the mortgage payments unless he made them out of his separate property. Same answer for the credit card debt. If you want the house, you have to pay him half of the equity as of date of division. You get half of the community portion of his pension, which might be substantial – hopefully worth at least $45,000. Looks to me like your husband is bluffing and taking advantage of you.

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