How Can I Challenge The Division Of My Husband’s 401k In Our Divorce?

I had a hard time with my divorce. I didn’t have much fight in me to ask for anything. I just wanted it over with so I thought. My ex asked if we could get back together in 2004. I moved back in with him until just last year. It has been a year now and I just found out that the judge never signed the divorce papers. I’m assuming I’m still married. If that’s the case, can I still ask for some of his 401k? Since the judge never signed the papers we would have been married 23 years.

Usually, a divorce decree is final when a judge signs and enters the order. If neither occurred, you may not have officially been divorced. If this is the case, and your ex-husband does not object, you may still be married. You should contact a family law attorney in your state to confirm this and file any necessary paperwork with the court. Keep in mind that if the judge did sign the divorce decree, but not other papers (such as parenting or property division), then you are divorced and would need to remarry in order to claim that status. In this case, you may still be able to challenge the unsigned property division order to allow you to claim some of the 401k. Again, contacting a family law attorney will clarify your position and provide you with the opportunity to make any corrections that are necessary.

Depending on in what state you live, you may also have “remarried” under the concept of common law marriage, which requires that you hold yourself out to others as being married. Most states no longer recognize common law marriage, but some still do. Again, check with a family law attorney in your state.