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Georgia Divorce: Dividing Retirement Assets

Pensions and retirement accounts, like 401k retirement plans, often make up the lion’s share of a marital estate. Georgia law provides for these assets to be shared equitably in divorce, no matter who was the breadwinner in the marriage. The Marietta divorce attorneys of Hill Macdonald, LLC, are skilled at crafting fair settlements that serve your long-term interests and avoid unnecessary litigation. Serving clients throughout Cobb County and the surrounding communities, they can advise you through your divorce, help you navigate the division of retirement assets and property division, and are knowledgeable about exceptions to equitable distribution and alternatives to cracking the nest egg in half.

Dividing Retirement And 401(k) Accounts In Divorce

Retirement savings are a common bone of contention in divorce. If one spouse made most of the contributions to the retirement plan or 401(k) over the years, it is easy to understand that he or she may feel entitled to that money. However, Georgia divorce law says that wealth accumulated during the marriage belongs to the couple, to be divided evenly. An exception is that retirement savings that predate the marriage are considered separate property.

A 401(k) retirement plan is a retirement savings plan through an employer, that allows employees to make pretax contributions towards a retirement account. Employers often match the employee’s contributions up to a certain amount. Designed to encourage savings towards retirement, 401(k) plans allow employees to have investment options. In a divorce, these retirement accounts can be difficult to divide. Because they are investments, they can’t simply be cut in half and divided. Instead, the parties will have to agree or the court will have to decide how to divide the various accounts and retirement assets evenly.

The Purpose Of A QDRO In Asset Division

A qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, is a court order that governs the division of retirement benefits, such as a 401(k), IRA or another qualified plan. The QDRO assigns a percentage share of each asset, intending to allow for an equitable distribution of the retirement assets, and defines they be divided at a future date. Pensions and other nonqualified savings plans are dealt with separately.

However, spouses may also reach an agreement together and determine the best way to divide their retirement assets on their own. For example, if both spouses agree, they may decide to each retain their own accounts, or one party may buy out the other’s share upfront.

With a background in finance and accounting, our legal team at Hill Macdonald, LLC, can advise you on all of the options available when it comes to an equitable division of your property, including the division of your retirement assets and accounts in a high-asset scenario divorce. They are also able to advise you on the consequences of cashing out a retirement fund, in addition to the different tax ramifications and other considerations that might alter a divorce settlement strategy.

Protect Your Fair Share. Call Today.

If you and your spouse have amassed significant retirement assets, we work to ensure an accurate accounting and fair distribution of those assets. We handle all facets of high-asset divorce in Cobb County and its surrounding communities. To arrange a consultation, send an email through our online form or call us toll free at 866-276-2839.