My husband said he would flush his $1.5 million

“He can be very loud and scary at times, and this seems to be his version of Custer’s Last Stand.” – Getty Images

Dear Quentin,

I am going through a divorce, which I would not describe as amicable. My husband said he will “fight every step of the way not to give me a single cent” from his retirement account. Those are his words. I knew divorce was stressful, but I was never prepared for this kind of bitterness, even though it shouldn’t have surprised me.

He said he’s been putting money in this account all his life, and he’d rather take the money and flush it down the toilet than give me anything. His IRA is worth $1.5 million, and we’ve been married for 20 years. I took time off to raise our child, and I always contributed to our mortgage and other expenses.

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He is selfish, never admits he is wrong, and never does what he says he is going to do. When he says he’ll be home at 5pm and I have dinner ready, he comes in at 9pm and refuses to ever acknowledge that he would be home in time for dinner. When he says he’s taking our son to his baseball game, I know I have to make sure I’m on standby.

If I agreed to go on vacation with him and we ended up taking a wrong turn, he would blame Google Maps, or blame me for distracting him. He never accepts responsibility. He can be very loud and scary at times, and this seems to be his version of Custer’s Last Stand. He doesn’t want to let it go, and he has promised to put me through hell. I don’t underestimate him.

The woman

Related: “Is he trying to deceive me?” My husband wants a divorce after 20 years. He offered his $275,000 401(k) in exchange for our $250,000 house.

“Your husband is a gaslighter – an overused but painfully appropriate term – and a bully.”“Your husband is a gaslighter – an overused but painfully appropriate term – and a bully.”

“Your husband is a gaslighter – an overused but painfully appropriate term – and a bully.” – MarketWatch illustration

Dear wife,

If he keeps this promise, it will sound like it will be the first time in your marriage. Only it won’t be because he doesn’t want to try. The law is very clear about retirement accounts and divorce. He can huff and puff, but if you hire a good divorce lawyer, his retirement account will remain intact.

Your husband is a gaslighter – an overused but painfully appropriate term – and a bully. If you say the weather is sunny and it’s 80 degrees without a cloud in the sky, he’ll say it’s raining. He can’t get you to sign over his IRA, and he can’t recklessly dispose of assets.

California is a community property state and any property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. That includes the contributions and appreciation of his IRA over the past twenty years, likely the years when he earned the most.

“In California, all types of retirement benefits are considered community property, which requires the benefits to be divided upon dissolution of marriage,” according to the Galen Gentry Law Group in Woodland Hills, California. Those assets are generally split 50/50. .

Don’t let yourself be pushed around. Consider this your final stand – not his. Assuming that he entered into a retirement account before your marriage, you are entitled to 50% of the premiums and credits that you accrued or purchased during the marriage.

Your husband is out of luck

Your husband has broken down and is out of gas. “These statements are true regardless of the type of retirement accounts you have, including 401ks, IRAs, Roth IRAs, private pensions, public pensions like CalPERS, and military pensions,” the law firm adds.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) allow a spouse to receive a portion of their ex-spouse’s retirement plan. So if $1 million of your husband’s IRA was acquired during your marriage, you are entitled to $500,000 of it.

Divorce attorneys must advise their clients that they are prohibited from transferring, encumbering, mortgaging, concealing or in any way disposing of any community or separate property without the court’s permission.

That’s according to Bickford, Blado & Bodros, a law firm in San Diego. “Despite the general prohibition on the sale of property during a divorce, a spouse may apply to the court for permission to liquidate assets if one of the exceptions applies,” it adds.

Trying to hide or dispose of assets can backfire spectacularly on your husband. Bring in a team of friends, trusted family members, a smart divorce attorney, and a therapist, if necessary. The coming months will be crucial for your long-term financial well-being.

More columns from Quentin Fottrell:

‘He plans to bleed me dry’: My husband turned into a monster after we got married. I own a $1.3 million house. How do I save my finances?

My wife received a $1 million payout from her employer when she retired. Am I entitled to 50% of that if we divorce?

‘He has always been able to play golf’: My husband of 14 years has never worked and now we are divorcing. He wants half of my $1 million house. What can I do?

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