Will I get half of my husband's pension when he retires? 13 Answers as of August 13, 2012

I'm in California. I've been married for 9 years and 3 months. We tried to reconcile a year after separation, for two years. Between the two years we had the paperwork work stopped on divorce. What are my rights to his retirement?

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Your community interest in your husband's retirement plan is 1/2 of that share earned during the marriage until the date of separation. The reconciliation effort delayed the date of separation until the last date of separation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/13/2012
Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
You are not considered separated until you have split with the intention of not getting back together. You should consult an attorney for further information regarding your rights.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/13/2012
Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
The technical answer is that you should receive half of that portion of the retirement that was earned from marriage to separation. In your case, separation should mean the final separation. It will be necessary to file amended dissolution paperwork with the new date of separation.

How you divide the pension depends on what kind of pension it is. If it is a traditional formula monthly pension, then you will get your percentage based on the amount of time you were married vs. his total time in the job that earned the pension.

So, if he was already working when you married, the time he put in before marriage is his and you don't share that. The time he puts in after separation is also his alone. You only get 1/2 of the part when he was working and you were married to him.

If he has a 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 457, IRA or any other type of retirement (except Social Security) you get that, too.

Military pensions are different. If he is active duty military or reserve and that is the pension you are discussing, there are special rules that apply. Get a lawyer to help you, at least with this part. Even if it is a simple 401(k) and that's it, you can easily cheat yourself out of thousands if you don't know what you are doing and, trust me on this, almost no-one does.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/13/2012
The Law Office of Erin Farley
The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
In general, you are entitled to 1/2 of what was earned during the marriage.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/13/2012
Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
You only get 1/2 of the pension which he earned during your marriage. So, if you stay married a total of 10 years and he worked for 30 years to get the pension, I'm using that because it makes the numbers easy, you would be entitled to half of 1/3rd of his pension benefits, about 1/6th of the benefits.

You are not entitled to any benefits for the time he was earning benefits, but not married to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/13/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    Yo are entitled to one-half of all retirement earned by him during your marriage, which sounds like whatever the total years are, one year will be deducted from your half. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Office of Bernal Peter Ojeda | Bernal Peter Ojeda
    To the extent there were contributions during marriage, then you will receive you community interest therein.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    You get percentage of the benefits that he earned during the marriage. You only share in what was earned during the time of marriage.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of John C. Bigler | John Bigler
    You'll receive one half of the community interest which is the total length of time you were married (including the time you attempted a reconciliation) divided by the total number of years of employment. For example if you were together a total of 9 years and he was employed for 30 years you would receive .5 * 9/30 = 15 percent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    You would be entitled to one half of the value of the pension that was accumulated during the marriage. You should consult a family law attorney to determine how the evaluation would be made.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Half of any accretions to value from date of marriage to date of separation. Best to call a local family law lawyer to learn your rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman | Tobie B. Waxman
    You are entitled to one-half of the community's share the retirement account. This means the earnings/contributions to the account from the date of marriage to the date of separation = community property, of which you are entitled to half.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    You are entitled to one-half of the community interest in the retirement. Determining what that is can be difficult when the parties have a period of separation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
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