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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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Married 20 yrs this July. Separated, divorce in progress. He

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Married 20 yrs this July. Separated, divorce in progress. He works, I worked for the state. I was terminated for workplace violence after 27 yrs because I used a work typewriter to write someone a not so nice letter . I had a mental meltdown I was seeking help, waiting for appt w Primary for depression, to get on anti depressants well the not so nice letter turns out to be a letter of extortion. Had options but I resigned before some big legal legal hearing thing where I coulda lost everything. I now work part time and get my pension. Had to hire lawyer for extortion charges. $20, 000.00. My alcoholic husband took It out of his 401k after MONTHS of teasing me and tormenting me in drunken stupers. He wanted me to beg for the money while SEVERELY depressed. His alcoholism was probably the cause of my mental state...OK...FAST FORWARD
7 torturous yrs later, divorcing. 16 yr old twins live w me in marital home. he wants that $20000.00 plus fees, total$ 28,000.00. I can't afford this and at the time I asked asked him if he wanted an I.o.u. and he said no, that what husbands and wives do for each other. In his drivers, he never learn me live it down. I have lawyer that doesn't seem too I need to know how I can get out of paying that 28,000.00 back

e was charged $8000 for early withdrawal and
Penalties/fees. I did at one point ask if he wanted as n I.o.u. and he said n I, I'm your husband, that's what husbands and wives do for each other

Good Morning, Donna, and Welcome to JustAnswer, My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with Excellent Service, Thank you for your question,


I just need to get the time frame correctly


1. In what year did he withdraw the money from his 401k ?

2. In what year did you separate ?

3. In what year were divorce proceedings started ?

4. I know that there is a penalty for early withdrawal in that you have to pay a tax on it also, but $8,000 seems high. Did he have any paperwork to show that the $8,000 was attributable solely to the $20,000 withdrawal ?

Thank you,



Customer: replied 4 years ago.
hi andrea.
1. 401k withdrawal 2006

2. we have been on again, off again since 2010. january 2013 i filed for divorce. i was told that was the only way to get him to contribute to the bills. he payed mortgage only and would not give us a nickel....NOT THAT WE ASKED FOR IT! this went on for 6 months

3. this time around, divorce proceedings were started january 2013 by me

4. no i have not seen any paperwork saying $8000 for anything. i can probably get it from lawyer
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
hi andrea, i have to step out for a few hours, and will not have access to computer. so after you answer the book i wrote you, can you please check this out? i worked 27 years for the state, 13 yrs were married years, i get $677.00 month currently. started receiving?? probably 2007. i don't work much "on the books," but some. IF i am eligible for social security, i believe state employees are only allowed to collect a certain percentage of their social security due to pension, no double dipping. so if i get ss, it will be the bare minimum. now, my husband has just under $1,000 monthly income, with wages, overtime and part time job. he will get over $2000 month social security. i cannot touch that, is that correct? he was in the navy 20 years, about 13/14 were married years. i believe, but do not know for sure that my current pension and his navy are about the same. so will those just be dismissed as amounts, because they are even? do you know what i mean, me 13 married years working for state, which entitled me to pension, his military service 13 married years. i also filled out a form to have my husband pay a reasonable amount of my legal bills. do you see that happening? my income now is wages reported $280, pension $677.00 and $229 child support . so that is about $1100.00 for me a month. i am entitled to half of his navy pension, which he does not receive yet. is he entitled to 1/2 the pension i am currently receiving, under the circumstances with itty bitty social security to be received and double dipping rule.

Hi, Donna, Thank you for your additional information,


1. You asked if you must repay your husband the money he gave you to pay a lawyer in 2006


Answer 1


In 2006 when your husband gave you the money (And, I do mean gave), you were neither separated, nor contemplating divorce. In 2006, you were married, you were husband and wife and divorce proceedings did not commence until 7 years later, in 2013. Under Massachusetts law, a married couple is considered one entity, and because a husband and wife are considered a single entity, money of a husband and wife belongs to both spouses. Therefore, you do not owe him anything. His giving you $20,000 is the same thing as his taking $20,000 from his left pocket and putting it in his right pocket. In addition, you had an interest in that part of your husband's 401k that was earned during the marriage. Under the circumstances you described, you do not legally owe him any repayment, no matter how much he demands or insists.


Let me give you a example to show you how ridiculous his demand for repayment is:


Husband and Wife were married in 1993. They had a rocky marriage for 8 years and in 2001, Husband got his Third DUI and had to pay a lawyer $15,000 to avoid going to jail. The wife withdrew $15,000 from her retirement fund to pay the lawyer. In 2009 after 16 years of marriage, Husband and Wife separated. The wife demanded that she be repaid the money she gave her husband 8 years earlier, in 2001.

Is the wife entitled to be repaid ? No. Although the marriage was rocky, Husband and Wife did not separate until 2009 and did not divorce until 2012. They lived together as Husband and Wife after the Wife had given her Husband the money. It cannot be a loan if the money was given while they were married and the Husband had an interest in his Wife's retirement fund because it was earned during the marriage and was "marital Property".



2. You also asked about retirement funds and his Navy Pension,



Under Massachusetts law, "Marital Property" is defined as all property acquired, purchased, or earned during the marriage, regardless of whose name is XXXXX XXXXX and regardless of who paid or eared it, except for gifts, bequests and inheritaces which remain the sole, separate property of the recipient.


This would include any retirement accounts he has and any retirement accounts wich you have that was earned during the marriage. It would also include any part of his Navy Pension that was earned during the marriage. You cannot determine if it is a "wash" until you calculate the value of each in dollars and cents that was earned during the marriage. In divorce proceedings, if the spouses cannot agree with the division of the marital property, a Judge will make the division. Massachusetts is an Equitable Distribution State, therefore, although the Judge may start out with a 50%-50% division, he might divide the marital property 55%-45%, 60%-40%, etc., after applying several factors, including but not limited to,


Length of the marriage

Relative Age of the parties

Relative health of the parties

Education of the parties

Contribution of a spouse as homemaker

Education and Employability of the parties



I hope I have given you a better understanding of your rights and obligations with respect to the issues you raised,





Please be kind enough to rate "Excellent Service" so that I can receive credit for assisting you, otherwise I will not receive any credit for researching your question andfurnishing you with Answers,

Bonus and Positive Feedback on Survey is greatly appreciated

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you,




Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Can't thank you enough for the thorough explanation, which came after some excellent research. I am so traumatized by everything, it's good to get some positive news. I wish I could hire you to come represent me! I'll be back! Hope I can request you!

Hi, Donna, You re most welcome, and Please do not be traumatized. I understand and I can appreciate how difficult this time is for you, but if I may suggest something - I want you to know in advance that he will make every attempt to intimidate you, frighten you, and make you think that you owe him money. I would like you to think of 3 things -


1. He's wrong, He's wrong, and at the risk of repeating myself, He's wrong'

2. Think several months into the future when all of this will be over and it will all be behind you; and lastly,

3. Turn a deaf ear, do not listen to anything he says, close your eyes, and think of a place you used to go to in the past that made you feel very, very relaxed and let your mind stay there, as if the present did not exist and just relax! Please be kind enough to rate my service to you as "Excellent Service, otherwise I will not receive any credit for assisting you. Thank you for understanding,


IAnd Yes, please feel free to ask for me any time you have a question or concern that falls into any of the categories assigned to me, "Legal, Real Estate Law, Employment Law, Consumer Protection Law, Personal Injury Law, and Traffic Law",


You can ask for me by typing my name at the beginning of your question, like this,



"For Andrea only.........."


Please be kind enough to rate, "Excellent Service", otherwise I will not receive credit for researching your question, and furnishing you with Answers


Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be of assistance,




Andrea, Esq. and other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

ANDREA, I can't seem to get to a page that will allow me to pick a subscription, no need to reply, im just seeing if this will allow me

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


HI ITS Donna. I'm having a problem w re-activating deactivating account. I have been trying to get in touch with with you but each contact costs $60. I was told by customer service that all correspondences between you and I COULD be lost during reactivation. I will be in touch w you a lot. I just want ty o let you know this, in case you want to somehow save my info for reference.

My name is Donna from pittsfield mass [email protected]

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