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How are retirement benefits divided in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2022 | divorce, property division | 0 comments

When going through a divorce, you might have questions regarding the division of your assets, including real estate, vehicles, and retirement accounts. How property gets distributed in your divorce settlement can significantly impact your future.

Knowing how a judge might divide your property can help you protect your assets and understand your options.

How are retirement benefits divided?

When you file for divorce in New York, marital assets get divided equitably between you and your spouse. Instead of a 50-50 split, a judge considers several factors to determine a fair distribution for you and your spouse. This could result in your spouse getting a share of your retirement benefits.

Additional paperwork might be necessary if your divorce settlement grants your spouse a portion of your pension or retirement.

What is a QDRO?

A QDRO, or qualified domestic relations order, creates an alternate payee on your retirement account and allows your spouse to access funds granted to them in the divorce for spousal support or past and future child support.

It can help to understand how a QDRO might be relevant in your divorce if you have invested in your retirement during the marriage.

How can you protect your assets?

Only retirement contributions made during your marriage factor into your divorce settlement, so you can protect any benefits earned before the marriage. You might also be able to negotiate alternative compensation with your spouse or consider a post-nuptial agreement.

A professional can help you understand the terms of your pension, negotiate on your behalf, and file any paperwork necessary to comply with the judge’s orders.