Am I Entitled to a Portion of My Spouse’s Retirement Benefits?

Yes, if the retirement benefits are derived from wages earned during the marriage. Wages are considered to be community property and subject to division in a divorce. Each party’s deferred employment compensation in the form of a qualified pension, 401k, or IRA, is community property and must be divided. The pension division is accomplished with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The QDRO orders the retirement plan administrator to distribute a specified percentage of the participant-spouse’s benefit to the alternate payee-spouse.