Dividing your assets during divorce may be one of the most time-consuming and essential parts of the process. While you may be focused on family heirlooms or the family house, you might not realize that your retirement accounts could be your most valuable assets.
Your retirement account likely holds substantial funds. For most couples, these plans encompass a significant amount of their net worth. These funds are also essential for your future, so you should be sure you get a fair settlement regarding these accounts.
Unfortunately, this process can be complicated and is often mishandled if left to inexperienced people.
What Do I Need To Know About My Retirement Accounts?
There are a few elements you should keep in mind when considering your retirement accounts, such as:
- Generally, your retirement funds are considered marital property. Specifically, any contributions added during your marriage are supposed to be split evenly upon divorce. This means any money already in a 401k or other account prior to marriage will likely remain with the account holder.
- 401ks and pensions require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. If you fail to get this court order, there is no guarantee your rights will be protected, and your settlement will give you what you deserve from your retirement.
- This QDRO should be fully completed and presented before the divorce is finalized in order to be effective.
These elements may seem complicated and less than clear. For most people, hiring an experienced team of legal professionals, including a divorce attorney, is the most efficient and effective way to avoid common mistakes and ensure they are getting a fair deal in their divorce, especially where valuable retirement accounts are concerned.