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Can Divorced Spouse Reopen Her Divorce Decree In Order to Partition Ex-Husband's Tier 2 Benefit?
(Posted August 7, 2014)
Question 1161: I am totally disabled. At the time of my divorce from my husband of 21 years, my husband had worked 13 years for the railroad. I enquired to the Railroad Retirement Board as to whether I was entitled to a benefit. They said I couldn't receive anything under his Tier 2 and I wasn't eligible for the Tier 1 until I turned 60. I was not told that the Tier 2 was an annuity and that it should have been part of my divorce decree; they said I wasn't entitled to it, so I didn't put it my divorce decree. I
was divorced in New Hampshire, which I believe is a community property state. Is this all correct? Do I have any recourse on the Tier 2? I have been divorced for 15 years. I am 57 years old and only get a Social Security Disability benefit.
Answer: I'm not an attorney, nor do I give legal advice. If you are not remarried and do not marry, you should be eligible for a Divorced Spouse Annuity at 62. Because you are receiving a Social Security Disability benefit, your Spouse Annuity will be reduced by the amount of your Social Security.
You should consult a divorce attorney who is experienced in partitioning retirement benefits, to see if your divorce decree can be revised to provide you a share of your former husband's Tier 2 benefit. The local Bar Association can furnish a list of qualified attorneys.
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