One of the most overlooked aspects in a divorce is also one of the most important, which is a spouse's retirement account. Many of these accounts can contain significant amounts of money that have been put aside with retirement in mind. Both parties in a divorce have a right to access that money.
How to Obtain Retirement Money in a Divorce
A four step process provides the necessary information for obtaining what is deserved from a spouse's retirement account:
- Identify all retirement accounts, either by asking the spouse directly or having a lawyer contact places of employment to obtain the information.
- Figure out what accounts will be divided according to state law and federal law to determine the amount that will be received upon retirement.
- Draft a Qualified Domestic Relations Order with a lawyer and send to a judge.
- Roll over the retirement benefits to a new account and choose how to manage these funds from here on out.
Keep in mind that any division of retirement accounts should occur before the divorce order is signed since attempting to access these funds after a divorce may be fruitless.
While there are benefits to any option a person may choose to take when accessing and managing their spouse's retirement funds, it is important to consult with a divorce attorney to ensure that there are no negative legal implications.
Claery & Hammond can help ensure that accessing deserved retirement funds goes as smoothly as possible!