Retirement benefits can include savings, stock options, pensions, IRA’s, and more. Whether or not retirement benefits belong to both spouses depends on whether contributions to the account were made before or after you got married. Any contributions made before marriage are the sole property of the spouse who made the contributions. Contributions made during the marriage belong to both spouses, regardless of which spouse’s name is on the account. Some retirement accounts and estate plans are made up of both shared and separate assets.

Navigating retirement benefits upon divorce can be complicated, especially if you have a lot of assets. Obtaining the services of an experienced family law attorney to help you and your spouse figure out the division of assets can make a stressful stage of life a little bit easier. Call our estate planning law firm in San Antonio today at (210) 775-0353.

Does It Matter How Many Years You Were Married?

It depends on what type of retirement assets you’re talking about. The majority of retirement savings plans—like a 401(k)—can easily be divided upon divorce no matter how long you and your spouse were married. The court, however, is not required to split the retirement assets evenly between the spouses. Pensions, Social Security spousal benefits, military retirement, and other assets have other rules for eligibility and for when and what you are entitled to receive, in terms of funds. A good family law attorney can take the guesswork out of the equation and make this entire process easier for you and your spouse.

Can I Hold Onto My Retirement Assets When I Divorce?

If this divorce is on good terms, you and your spouse might agree that each of you will keep your retirement accounts under your own, individual name and not divide them. The other option is that you “cash out” your spouse’s share as part of the divorce settlement. There’s also the option to agree to exchange property equal to the value of your spouse’s share of retirement. No matter which route you decide to go to, our experienced family law firm can help you with any needs when it comes to handling your retirement assets.

How Can I Make Sure I Get My Share Of The Retirement Assets?

In the majority of situations, you’ll need a court order called Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. A QDRO is a form signed by the judge, separate from your divorce agreement, that directs your former spouse’s employer to divide the benefits according to the decree. Speak directly to someone from our family law firm about all the options available to you and your former spouse today by calling Laura D. Heard Law Firm Inc. at (210) 775-0353.