Beware of the Pitfalls of Pensions During Divorce

  Posted on September 23, 2011

Pension Details During Divorce–Tennessee Important Facts

A client came to my Nashville office yesterday and said "I want to request a portion of my husband's pension in the divorce settlement. His first wife got a portion of his retirement funds and I deserve some too." I asked her if the pension administrator allowed for the pension to be divided. Her reply was "Of course, the divorce settlement said it would be divided." I explained that just because the divorce settlement document said the pension would be divided, that did not mean that the pension administrator would allow it to be divided.

To make a long story short, after some research, she discovered that her husband's pension was not divisible and that his first wife would never receive her portion of his pension ($250,000). I encouraged my client to consider asking for a portion of her husband's IRA rather than his pension. She did and received a portion of his IRA. This story had a happy ending. Many times individuals in the midst of divorce rely on their attorneys to address the financial issues of divorce. The attorneys are responsible for the legal aspects. The client is responsible for financial aspects. I encourage my clients to do their own research and save the attorney fees for legal matters. After all, it is the client's future and financial well being that is at stake.

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