Can my spouse take my retirement benefits in a divorce?

Can my spouse take my retirement benefits in a divorce?

retirement benefits clock

When individuals reach a certain age, they often retire from their occupations. Once they’ve stopped working, retirement benefits replace their income. It is common for those undergoing a divorce to wonder whether their spouse can claim any of their retirement benefits. This is often a relevant topic for couples that have been in long-term marriages. Please continue to follow along to learn whether spouses can claim any retirement benefits in a divorce. In addition, learn how a skilled Nassau County Division of Assets Attorney can help you obtain or protect your hard-earned retirement benefits during a divorce. 

Is my spouse entitled to a portion of my retirement benefits in a divorce?

New York is an equitable distribution state. When divorcing this means, during the process of property distribution, marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily split 50/50 like in community property states. The court evaluates several factors to determine a reasonable division of marital assets between both parties. However, in a divorce, only marital property is up for division during the division of assets. Essentially, marital property is any assets that were accumulated during the marriage. Separate property is assets that were accumulated outside of the marriage. Separate property is not up for division during the division of assets. With that being said, the court does consider retirement benefits to be marital property. This means they will most likely be split during the division of assets between both parties. However, the court considers several other factors to determine an appropriate division of marital property in a divorce.

Do I need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)?

In New York, when dividing retirement benefits, individuals should consider obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This legal decree allows an individual to receive a portion of a retirement plan. Essentially, a QDRO is a court order that divides certain types of retirement plans. QDOROs are extremely beneficial for individuals who have not worked in years and have taken on the role of a “stay-at-home” parent. This ensures they get an equal share of money from the retirement benefits an individual has accumulated during the marriage. Moreover, QDROs help couples avoid tax consequences. Ultimately, to have financial certainty after a divorce, obtaining a QDRO is in your best interest.

If you are undergoing a divorce, it is imperative to retain the legal services of a determined Nassau County division of assets attorney. Our trusted attorneys are prepared to help you protect your hard-earned retirement benefits or help you obtain a portion of your spouse’s benefits. Allow our firm to fight on your behalf today!

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