Your Pension and Your Divorce
If you’re going through a divorce, all of your assets will have to pass through the asset distribution process. Not every asset is considered a marital asset, but a pension likely will be.
Here’s a quick overview of what you should know about pensions and the asset division process.
Pensions are typically marital assets
Pension money earned during the course of the marriage will typically be considered a joint asset, meaning both spouses have a claim to the money, even if just one of the spouses actually earned it. States set their own rules regarding how those assets will be divided and whether survivor benefits will be paid out. It may be necessary for someone to get a court order to get a share of a pension.
In cases in which a pension will be split between divorcing spouses, that will usually be done during the marital asset distribution process. Spouses may negotiate this issue themselves, or it could come as a result of a court order if the divorce had to be litigated.
In addition, most retirement plans pay out their pension benefits directly to the divorced spouse if the domestic relations order fulfills the proper requirements. This is what’s known as a “qualified domestic relations order,” QDRO. Payments can be made for the life of the retiree or the employee, as well as after death.
It is important to be familiar with the rules for pensions in your area. An experienced Long Island divorce lawyer at Solutions Divorce Mediation can answer any questions you have about how to handle your pension during divorce, and any issues you will need to confront in the process of negotiating the issue.