Who Has A Right To A Couple’s Retirement Benefits?
You may think of your pension, IRA or 401(k) account as something that belongs to you alone. The reality is that your spouse may be entitled to an equitable share if you decide to get divorced.
Surprised? Many people are. But the fact of the matter is that your retirement benefits, at least the portion earned during your marriage, are marital property.
Obtaining A Qualified Domestic Relations Order
To divide retirements benefits, you will need to obtain a qualified domestic relations order, or a QDRO. This document will assign a portion of a person’s retirement benefits to a spouse. For instance, if your pension pays $3,000 per month and your spouse is entitled to a third of it, you will only receive $2,000. The pension administrator will pay the remaining $1,000 to your spouse, per the QDRO.
All retirement benefits earned during the marriage are marital property, regardless of whose name is on the account. Benefits earned before your marriage or after your divorce do not have to be split.
As you can imagine, it is critical to know your legal rights during a divorce. Here at the Leskovich Law Group in Punta Gorda, Florida, our lawyers can guide you every step of the way. We have more than 50 years of experience in equitable division of retirement accounts and other marital property.