Your upcoming divorce is going to have a drastic impact on your retirement planning. For years or perhaps decades of marriage, you knew you could count on your spouse’s pension plan or retirement plan. As the marriage ends, does that safety net fall away? What rights do you have to this asset, which your spouse may not even be receiving yet if he or she is still working?
Here at Fried and Fried, P.A., in Fort Myers, Florida, we fight for your rights. We fight for your future. We offer representation that is both compassionate and aggressive, putting you first. With more than 70 years of combined experience and a board-certified attorney, we give you the type of representation you need at this difficult time. We also offer confidential consultations, free parking, flexible payment plans – including credit cards – and excellent communication.
Using A QDRO
In many cases, the best way to proceed is by setting up a QDRO, or a qualified domestic relations order. Essentially, this court order legally gives you permission to collect a percentage of the benefits from your ex’s pension or retirement plan. You still get the retirement benefits you expected. They get divided along with other assets during the divorce since at least some of these benefits were earned during the marriage and are therefore marital property.
You should note that you may not get a full 50 percent of the benefits. For instance, perhaps you and your spouse were married for 20 years. Your spouse earned the pension for 10 years before you got married and plans to work for 10 more years after the divorce. You may get 50 percent of the portion of the pension earned while you were married – over those 20 years – but that is only 25 percent of the total pension since your spouse also logged 20 years earning it outside of your marriage.
In any case, a QDRO ensures that you know exactly what benefits you deserve and that you receive them properly when your ex retires and begins collecting on that plan.