Retirement Division

Many people are surprised to learn that division of retirement benefits is even an issue. They are not aware that retirement benefits are subject to property division in divorce just like the family home, the car or the bank accounts. At Childers & Motsinger, P.C., we can assist you with the division of pensions, 401(k)s and other retirement accounts. Our goal is to help you get an outcome that is fair for you.
Retirement Division and ERISA
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 governs the division of retirement accounts during divorce. This law is designed to protect individuals' retirement accounts from creditors and other parties. Essentially, the law makes it impossible for anyone to touch your retirement benefits, with very few exceptions. One of those exceptions is that the court can divide retirement accounts during the divorce process.
How Are Retirement Benefits Divided?
Generally speaking, retirement benefits are split in half in a divorce. Of course, division often gets more complicated than that. If you have a 30-year-old pension but have only been married for five years, a 50/50 division may not make sense. Furthermore, a property division agreement in which you keep your retirement account in exchange for giving up more of another item may make sense in your case. I will review all of your options.
Retirement accounts are divided using qualified domestic relations orders (QDRO) or similar tools such as Court Orders Acceptable for Processing in the case of military retirement benefits. We are skilled at creating these orders. In fact, other attorneys frequently enlist me to complete QDROs for their clients.