Retirement fund

My husband and I were divorced in 1996. The terms of our divorce were that we split everything 50/50. At the time of our divorce he had over 38K in his retirement fund. He said that I couldn’t get my half until he retired. Over the years very time I asked him he always said the same thing. He even left the company he had the account with during this time. I asked him then and he said no because it is a retirement account and you can’t get it until I retire. He could start withdrawing from this account at the age of 55. I asked him about that and he said NO. Now that he is reaching retirement age I asked him and he said No because there is nothing left in the account. He claims now that several years ago the company was bought out and they took all his retirement. He said I will not get a DIME. However, he is building homes, swimming pools, going on expensive vacations, etc. I know he is lying to me. How can I get my share of this money? Can I file a judgement against him.? I was told I could by several people but of course they aren’t attorneys. Thank you

Connie rehkop

He is duping you…

Was your property settlement handled through a separation agreement or a court order on equitable distribution? If the retirement is divided in a separation agreement, you can sue him for breach of contract for failing to divide the account. if it is a court order you can file a motion for contempt. Regardless, the document (separation agreement or court order) should provide details as to how/when the retirement should be split.

A separation agreement was written up by my attorney but apparently he never filed it. My husband said at the time that a separation agreement wasn’t necessary because we were going to just split everything 50/50. We did split everything at the time of the divorce except for his retirement. He said I could get my share when he retired. I have the paper from his employment that states how much he had in the account at the time of our divorce.

What do you mean when you say the separation agreement was drafted, but never filed? Did you and your husband sign the agreement? Or was the agreement just drafted and never signed?

If it has been signed by you and your husband, it is valid and enforceable. There should be language discussing how/when the retirement should be split. If there isn’t, depending on the language in the agreement, you should still be able to sue him for breach of contract.

If you never executed a separation agreement, but you orally agreed to split the retirement you may be in trouble. If you have obtained a divorce decree, and no court order or separation agreement was in place regarding your property settlement, then any claim you have in the account may have been lost. You must have a claim for ED pending (or finalized) before the divorce decree is granted in order to preserve the claim.

The separation agreement was written but I don’t think my husband ever signed it therefore my attorney never filed it. My husband said it was not necessary since we agreed to split everything 50/50. Since he owes me this money can I file a judgement against him? There has to be something I can do.

Unfortunately it sounds like you don’t have any recourse. An oral agreement to split everything 50/50 is not enforceable. In order for a separation agreement to be valid and enforceable it must be in writing an signed by both parties. There is no filing of a separation agreement - the document on it’s own is enforceable as a contract. You can choose to incorporate it into a court order, but the agreement isn’t filed, so to speak.

If you never obtained a divorce decree, you can file a complaint for equitable distribution. However, if you have already obtained the decree, and you did not have an agreement in place about this retirement account prior to obtaining the divorce, you have lost your right to pursue that claim.