How do I get my share of a 401k?

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How do I get my share of a 401k?

My wife sent me an uncontested papers. I took all responsibility and file bankrupt. I

contested for half the 401k. How do I handle this? Otherwise I won’t contest the divorce.

Asked on June 22, 2016 under Family Law, Maryland

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your divorce is not yet finalized, then you need to make sure your request for half of the 401k is presented to the judge at a final hearing.  If your wife will agree to give you half, then you need to make sure that the divorce decree reflects that you do get half.  Even after the decree (final order) is entered, then you will still need the judge to sign a qualified domestic relations order, also known as a QDRO.  This order tells the plan administrator what to do and when to disburse funds. 
If the divorce has already been finalized, then you will not be able to access the funds until you challenge the decree, get it undone, and have the judge reconsider your request for a share. 
Since you are limited on funds, contact the plan administrator for the 401k and see if they have an approved form that you can use.  Each administrator has a slightly different form they prefer.... so using their form will be a positive.  You can also reach out to the local district clerk and bar association and see if they have names/numbers of any legal support programs to assist you.


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