My ex-wife’s retirement was never addressed during the divorce.
Since it was not addressed, is it still considered an open issue and I can come back years after our divorce with a claim to a portion of the account?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on New York divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
The answer to your question depends on a few factors.
First, was your divorce ultimately finalized through a Separation Agreement negotiated between you and your wife (and presumably your divorce attorneys), or did you have a trial and receive a decision from a judge?
If you did negotiate terms and enter into an agreement, typically the agreement will contain catch-all language that states that any financial interest, including retirement accounts, not specifically mentioned in the agreement will remain the sole possession of the party in possession of the interest.
In that case, it would be very difficult to later attempt to challenge the waiver of her retirement account.
If you received a decision from the court, there will not likely be any such catch-all provisions in the court’s decision and it may be possible to come in now and challenge the final order of divorce.
Whether you can challenge the final order of divorce will also depend on the statute of limitations period in your state.
Also, all divorces include substantial financial disclosures requiring your then-wife to reveal the existence of her retirement account and the value of the account.
If this was not disclosed by your ex-wife it would play a major role in your ability to seek a portion of that retirement account now regardless of whether you entered into an agreement or received a decision of the court.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.