Judge gavel and text: divorce, retirement benefits, life insurance, 401k, IRA, domestic relations ordersOn February 5, 2020, Supreme Court, Putnam County Justice Gina Capone held that the former husband (and pension owner) of FBN’s client (the former wife) is required to purchase and maintain life insurance in the amount of $250,000 because of his failure to protect the former wife’s share of the retirement payment if he died. 

The parties were divorced in 2005, and neither the parties nor their prior attorneys took the required steps to have a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) prepared to protect the Wife’s rights regarding the Husband’s pension through the NYC Employees Retirement System.  The Wife retained Kenneth J. Novenstern, Esq. in 2016, and FBN obtained the Order providing for the Wife to receive her share in the Husband’s pension.

Since the Husband retired in 2015 and made an election which would defeat the Wife’s rights if he died, in 2018, an Order was obtained directing the Husband to cooperate to protect the Wife’s share of the retirement payment upon his death.  In November, 2019, the Court directed the Husband to obtain a $250,000 life insurance policy for a 20-year term, and to pay the premiums and for the Wife to be named as owner and beneficiary of the policy.  The Husband asked the Court to reconsider the Order in certain respects, including the order designating the Wife as owner of the policy.  Justice Capone denied all of the requests sought by the Husband in her February 5, 2020 Decision.

FBN currently has 2 other pending cases where the parties were divorced over 10 years ago, and where the correct orders were not obtained for purposes of dividing pension benefits, and we are working on having appropriate Orders issued.  Please contact FBN if you have any questions concerning your rights with respect to retirement benefits or accounts, including 401k’s, IRA’s, defined benefit pensions, or if your spouse is a teacher, policeman/woman, fireman/woman, works for a county or town or other public entity.

Fredman Baken & Ken Novenstern, LLP is a Westchester, NY divorce law firm based in White Plains providing legal services primarily in the areas of separation, divorce litigation, mediation, and collaborative divorce. Learn more about our firm or contact us to arrange a consultation.

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