Can I force her to sign a release allowing me to borrow from my 401k to pay attorney fees?

Divorce attorney Jason BowmanQuestion:

I need to borrow against my 401k in order to retain a lawyer for my divorce case. However, the plan administrator tells me that I will have to get my ex-wife to co-sign a release before I can receive a loan from my 401k.

Can she be forced by a motion to compel or some other court order to sign the release so I can pay my attorney fees?


First let me preface my answer by stating that I am not licensed to practice law in the state of Florida, although Cordell & Cordell does have attorneys who are licensed in Florida who would be happy to discuss your case with you.

The quick answer to your question is it is possible, but every state is different with regards to what they will allow a party to do in order to pay their attorney’s fees and usually each judge is different as well.

You should seek the advice of counsel, at least a consultation, as to what your options are in regard to paying for an attorney. Some attorneys and/or firms have good alternative plans that will allow you to start the process before you attempt to tap into your 401k.


Jason Bowman is an attorney in the Louisville, Kent., office of Cordell & Cordell. He is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University.

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