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Dividing retirement assets in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2021 | Family Law |

One of the hardest parts of divorcing for most Georgia residents is dividing their assets and liabilities. Tallying up their properties and debts can bring up a lot of old wounds for a couple as they are reminded of what they’ve accomplished and what has gone differently than they’d hoped. One of the assets that you may need to divide with your soon-to-be-ex is a retirement package, which can be complicated.

What to do about your pension

A pension is something that one spouse earns by working for an entity over a period of time, but it’s generally considered a joint asset in a divorce. Dividing a pension account usually requires an order from the court known as a qualified domestic relations order. One positive thing about a QDRO is that it instructs a third party to make the division. That means the ex-spouses do not need to talk to each other or pay one another directly.

However, it may be possible to avoid dividing a pension altogether. Family law is more flexible than people realize when it comes to issues like the division of assets. In some cases, one spouse is able to retain their retirement plan in exchange for giving up another asset of similar value. For example, if you are willing to let go of the house, you may be able to keep your entire pension.

Professional assistance with the asset division process

Speaking with an attorney about how to protect your pension, 401(k) or stock options is always wise. A lawyer may help you understand how the division of assets works and demystify some of your options for you.


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