My ex doesn’t want to hand over my part of his pension. What to do?


Q. I recently signed an agreement with my separated spouse to receive a lump sum of his pension, and now he doesn’t want to honor the agreement of splitting 50% of the money. What should I do to get the money owed to me?
— Worried

A. We’re sorry to hear you’re having a disagreement with your ex.

But given that you have entered a written settlement agreement, it is highly likely that a court will enforce that agreement.

The court will probably order that the terms of the agreement be enforced and complied with so that you receive your share of the money, said Jeralyn Lawrence, a family law attorney with Lawrence Law in Watchung.

“Our court strongly favors agreements between spouses and enforces agreements that have been entered, absent a compelling reason not to,” she said. “Since this agreement is not being followed, you will have to bring an application to the court — referred to as filing a motion — asking the court to enforce the agreement and for a court order awarding you the share of the pension you are entitled to.”

Lawrence said you can also ask that the court order serve as a power of attorney so that you can present the order to the plan administrator — the person who controls the pension fund — so that the administrator can facilitate the division of the account and you get your agreed upon money even if the other party does not cooperate.

You can also ask the court to award you attorney’s fees for having to take the time to go to court and to pay an attorney, if you used an attorney, to sanction the other party for not complying with the agreement, she said.

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This story was originally published on March 14, 2023. 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.