Retirement Account Division in Divorce Can Be Complicated

When considering ending a marriage, there are multiple items and assets New York couples must consider when negotiating property division. According to data, the division of retirement accounts and pensions are some of married couple's most contested topics of division when negotiating the terms of a divorce. Division of retirement accounts is often complicated and requires some expertise to navigate through the process.

Because a couple's retirement account or accounts may contain the majority of their wealth, it is understandable that it would be a contested part of a divorce. Splitting a retirement account or pension is not as easy as other assets in a marriage. Most couples may have retirement accounts in 401(k)s, pensions and/or IRAs. The type of the account determines the rules that must be followed for a successful division.

Traditional pensions and 401(k)s require a separate court order called a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, in order to effect the transfers without tax consequences. With the help of an experienced family law attorney, many details for the division must be worked out to promote the desired outcome. Individual Retirement Accounts do not require a QDRO and can be handled as specified in the court's divorce decree. 

With multiple details to monitor and determine when dividing retirement accounts, securing the right skilled family law attorney can be a beneficial asset through the divorce process. New York family law attorneys are experienced with the division of all types of retirement accounts. Attorneys are also familiar with other areas of divorce negotiations such as alimony, child support, property and custody.

Source: CNBC, "How to avoid mistakes dividing up 401(k) assets in divorce", Sarah O'Brien, March 7, 2018