Honesty. Integrity. Finality.

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Divorce
  4.  » Can you divide retirement accounts?

Can you divide retirement accounts?

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Divorce |

In some senses, it may be simple to divide your retirement savings during a divorce. You and your spouse may have been setting aside a certain portion of your income. The two of you can just split that account as you divide up the other assets that you own. 

But things can get a bit more complicated if you don’t yet have access to those accounts. For instance, maybe your spouse’s retirement plan is through their employer, such as a pension plan. They will get the benefits when they retire, and they are earning those benefits while working at the company, but you don’t actually have access to the money yet. So how can you divide up these marital assets?

A qualified domestic relations order

This can be done by using a qualified domestic relations order to specify how the account should be divided in the future. Then, when your ex retires and starts to receive those payments, they will have to give the specified percentage of the retirement account to you.

Every case is unique, so there’s no guarantee of exactly what percentage you will get. Typically, the court will consider the length of your marriage and a variety of economic factors. For example, you may receive 50% of the share of the retirement account that was earned during your marriage – which may be 50% of the total if you were married the entire time, but could be much less if your marriage did not encompass your ex’s entire time of employment.

This can get complicated, but it’s a major financial asset that you don’t want to overlook. Be sure you know what legal steps to take.