A Future You Can Be Excited For

Can you keep your ex’s retirement benefits?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Property Division

Your spouse has long been the main breadwinner for you as a couple. One thing that they have been earning is a pension plan or an employer-sponsored retirement plan. It’s a substantial plan, so you haven’t put aside any money of your own to retire. You are counting on using your spouse’s benefits, and the future seems secure.

However, your spouse has recently told you that they would like to get a divorce. You know that this means you’re going to have to split up the financial assets that you own currently, but you’re also worried about the future. Your spouse isn’t in possession of their pension plan or retirement plan yet, so are you going to lose access to it? Does this mean that you suddenly can’t retire as you planned and you have no personal assets to do so?

Using a qualified domestic relations order

This can get complicated, but there is a solution: A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This is a form that can be used during a divorce, and the court issues an order dividing the retirement benefits for the future.

Different factors will determine how much money you actually receive. Often, the court considers the length of your marriage, income discrepancies and how much of the pension was earned during the marriage. If your spouse earned half of their pension while you were married and you deserve half of the marital assets during property division, for instance, you may end up getting 25% of the pension plan.

You don’t want to overlook a significant asset like this during a divorce. Carefully consider the legal steps that are necessary to secure the assets you deserve.