A Complex Aspect Of Divorce Proceedings
Marital assets are to be divided in an equitable, or “fair,” way under Florida divorce laws. When property division during divorce cases include complicated financial assets, establishing what is fair can be difficult. This may be particularly true when it comes to determining what happens to retirement plans and savings after divorce.
Most people seeking a divorce aren’t prepared to disentangle complex financial assets that may be under one spouse’s name, such as 401K plans, IRA accounts and pensions. Even joint savings and checking accounts can prove a challenge in finding a fair financial settlement.
What Happens To Retirement Funds And Savings After Divorce?
In divorce cases, it is often the case that one spouse has accrued more in retirement savings than another. This may be in part due to the fact that one partner cared for children and took care of other household duties while another worked and contributed to retirement accounts. A partner who worked may have also contributed more significantly to savings accounts.
Retirement funds and savings gained through the course of a marriage are typically regarded as marital property, but delineating who gets what after a divorce isn’t usually easy. Funds from 401K plans, IRA accounts, social security and pension funds can be especially difficult to make determinations about given that they may be paid out years in the future.
If a couple is unable to agree about the division of retirement plans and savings after divorce, the court will decide. Factors that may affect each spouse’s share may include:
- How long a marriage was
- How much each spouse contributed toward the household’s financial well-being
- Family contributions made in the home, including child-rearing
- Sacrifices of career or education development by a spouse caring for children
- The economic circumstances of each spouse
These are some of the influencing factors that may affect the distribution of retirement and savings accounts, though any decision by the judge will also account for the unique circumstances of your family situation.
Finding Legal Help To Advocate
Retirement funds and savings accounts can represent a significant portion of the marital property, and it’s important that you do everything possible to see that there is a fair distribution of these assets. Given the nature of these assets and the complexity of divorce laws, however, this can be difficult to do on your own.
An attorney can help. This legal representative has experience evaluating assets and advising divorcing spouses on what is rightfully theirs. Your lawyer can serve as an important advocate throughout the divorce process, also providing insight on who gets the house in a divorce and competently representing your interests before the court.
Given the impact that legal decisions regarding assets will have on your short- and long-term financial livelihood, it is important to give yourself every advantage in the process.