Pension and Bankruptcy

Posted by: Addy

Pension and Bankruptcy - 12/06/06 06:32 PM

My husband was divorced in 1998 but the Final Judgment wasn't issued by the court until Aug. 04. My husband receives a disability pension from his Union. He had been severely injured on the job and eventally had to stop working.

The court awarded his ex 50% of the pension not related to disability back to the date he began receiving it (1998). The wording is "what he otherwise would have been entitled if he had taken early retirement." The court was very specific that disability pension benefits are his sole property.

The court ordered his ex's attorney to complete the QDRO, which they did not do. We filed bankruptcy in Dec. 2004, chapter 7. His ex filed bankrtupcy in 2006, just before the law changed.

My husband's ex filed an Adversarial Objection in our bankruptcy to discharge of any debt owed to her but she made a huge mistake in not following thru so it was dismissed by the bankruptcy court and our bankruptcy was discharged.

A QDRO still has not been issued because the couple of QDRO's that her attorney sent have divided the pension earned during the marriage equally, without the distinction between disability and early retirement benefits. It also contained an Alternate Payee if Alternate Payee Spouse dies of her sister, which is against the ERISA laws. We've explained that over and over but she doesn't get it.

Since we filed bankruptcy and debts were discharged to her, will my husband still owe her for benefits from 1998 to 2004? We believe he will owe her from date of filing of our bankruptcy to the present but that pension benefits earned before the bankruptcy have been discharged.

Are we correct in this?

BTW...there is no reason for not completing the QDRO because we've provided the figures and the Union has verified the figures but she just won't accept that she doesn't get 1/2 of what was earned during the marriage and that she is entitled only to 1/2 of the non-disability portion. She could be receiving benefits but her unwillingness to accept what the court ordered is keeping her from getting them.