Avenel, NJ asked in Divorce and Family Law for New Jersey

Q: Can a divorced husband have any rights to pensions earned after the divorce that his wife earns?

Other than the settlement at the time of the divorce and the pension is divided up does the husband have access to pension moneys earned after the divorce is finalized?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Leonard R. Boyer
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  • Clifton, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Once a divorce is final, there is no right to anything you earn after the marriage. So you don't have to worry. Good luck.

Richard Diamond
Richard Diamond
  • Short Hills, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: On its face, your question should be simple to answer BUT......

If your divorce agreement states that your former husband is entitled to XX% of the marital portion of your pension plan and that a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is to be entered, dividing the benefits, the next question is whether the division is based on the Marx v Marx formula or some other arrangement for division purposes and to make that determination, someone needs to read the language of your settlement agreement on this issue and also review the terms of the QDRO entered at or near the time of the divorce.

Simple example -

you were married for 15 years at the time of the divorce filing - all of which time you were employed by XXX company

you remained employed by the XXX company for 20 years when you decided to retire and begin the collection of your benefits

Under the Marx formula, the division of your benefits would be years of marriage (15) over the years of service (20) x former spouses' interest in the marital portion (XX%)

15/20 =75% of the monthly benefit x XX% = former spouse's separate benefit.

The next question is whether the calculation of the monthly benefit was set in the pension plan or is based on your last year of employment or last 3 years of employment (even though those years were after the divorce occurred).

As I said, on its face, its not a complicated question but without a consultation with an experienced family law attorney to review the agreement terms, the existing QDRO, and the plan, whatever answer a lawyer gives you could be wrong.

Bari Weinberger
Bari Weinberger
  • Parsippany, NJ
  • Licensed in New Jersey

A: Thank you for your question. Typically, assets acquired during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution and assets acquired either before the marriage or after the termination date of the marriage are not. There are, of course, circumstances in which there may be some entitlement, so I recommend that you speak with an experienced family law attorney who can review your specific circumstances and provide guidance accordingly.

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