How Are Retirement Benefits Divided During a Divorce?


For many, their retirement plans are their most valuable assets and, understandably, dividing them can become a major issue during the divorce process. Although any assets you accumulated prior to walking down the aisle may remain separate property, your contributions and your employer contributions accumulated during your marriage is considered marital property. Dividing retirement assets is a complex process that requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

If you and your spouse have similar plans and a similar amount of assets, however, it may be possible for you to forego this process and a judge may allow you to keep your respective plans or give one spouse a greater share of other marital assets to make up for the discrepancies. Under these circumstances, you would not need a QDRO.

Dividing retirement assets requires the assistance of an attorney with extensive experience in handling the unique complexities of this process, especially if your spouse’s retirement assets are substantial. Moreover, an inexperienced attorney may miss something crucial, which could cost you time and money.

Depending on the retirement plan, you may have an option or options as to how your spouse’s retirement may distribute for your benefit, which include but are not limited to the below options. Prior to selecting an option you should first consult with your tax advisor as to possible tax consequences.

  • Depending on the plan, you may be able to receive the money as a lump sum. If this option is available, you definitely need to obtain advance advice from your tax adviser prior to initiating any distribution.
  • Depending on the plan, you may be able to move the money into a rollover IRA┬áto try to have the assets tax-deferred and under your control.
  • Depending on the plan, you may be able to leave the assets in your spouse’s retirement plan and start receiving monthly benefits at your retirement age or your former spouse’s retirement age.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Our Divorce Team Today!

If you are getting a divorce, you will have to divide your retirement assets and you will need an experienced attorney to do so. At Galmiche Law Firm, P.C., our knowledgeable family law team is backed by more than three decades of experience, which we will use to ensure you receive the best possible results for your case. Divorce can be an incredibly complex process, especially if you and your spouse have significant assets. You can rely on our team to provide the guidance, advice, and legal support you need to navigate this situation.

Reach out to our law office today at (636) 552-4841 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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