Can Divorce Impact Your 401(k) or Retirement Plan?

When people think about the process of divorce, they usually think about deciding custody plans and dividing up their property. But there are a lot of matters that people don’t even think about. For example, what happens to your 401(k), pensions, and other retirement accounts in the event of a divorce? Do you have to split them with your spouse?

Our Yonkers family law attorney explains what you should now about how your divorce can impact your retirement.

401(k) and IRA Accounts

If you get divorced, these accounts are treated as other property or assets. Retirement accounts that acquire money during the marriage are considered marital property and must be divvied up during the divorce. It is possible to have the entirety of an account awarded to the spouse during the division process. If money is acquired in a retirement account before marriage, that money is considered the separate property of the spouse that earned it.

Pension Plan

If the money in your pension plan is marital property, you have the option to either share your benefits with your spouse or buy him or her out. Determining what to do with a pension plan can seem complicated because it must be valued so that your spouse can receive equal value in property. Many people end up choosing to split the value of their pension to avoid an actuarial valuation.

Social Security Benefits

If your marriage with your spouse lasted at least 10 years and your now ex has better benefits than you, you can receive benefits on your ex’s work record. As long as you remain unmarried, you can collect benefits (this also includes if your ex remarries).

If you want to learn more about the divorce process or if you have questions about your personal retirement situation, contact Empire Law.