If my ex dies before me, can I get my pension back?

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Q. My wife and I did a QDRO on my pension as part of our divorce agreement several years ago. If she predeceases me, do I get her portion back?
— Divorced

A. A QDRO is short for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which tells your employer how to handle payouts from a pension or retirement account.

Once the QDRO was completed, the pension was carved into two separate pensions, said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with AXA Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

One belongs to you and the other belongs to your spouse, she said.

Depending on the specifics of your QDRO and divorce agreement, there could be another option.

“If your spouse passes before benefits have started to pay out, the portion of the pension that would have been paid to them could revert to you,” she said. “You would need to file another QDRO for that purpose.”

We recommend you speak to a family law attorney who can review your specific situation.

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This story was originally published Jan. 22, 2020.

NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.

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