If your spouse earned a pension during the marriage, you are entitled to equitable distribution of the pension even if monthly payments have not started. Your lawyer will help you protect your share of the part of the pension earned during the marriage by determining the fraction that shows the number of years and months of pensioned work during the marriage divided by the total number of years that your spouse earned the pension (including years before the marriage and after the
divorce summons is filed).
A special court order called a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order) when properly prepared and served will direct your spouse's employer to send your share of the marital portion directly to you. The benefit of this is substantial because you are not at the mercy of your spouse sending you a monthly check. You will pay your own taxes on the check that you receive.
The other way of receiving your part of the pension is through a buy out. The marital portion of the pension is determined using the same formula from above and then a calculation is made by a pension expert to determine what the pension is presently worth even though payments have not started. Your spouse can then consider whether to pay you in advance your share (usually half) of the calculated value and in return you agree that you will no longer be entitled to receive any payments once the pension goes into pay status. If the pension is subject to taxes, the lump sum that you receive will usually be reduced to account for taxes.
Either way you are receiving your share of the pension. There are reasons why some clients choose one method over the other. Your attorney can help you decide which
distribution is best.