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How to divide your retirement plan during a divorce?

Part of the divorce process in Florida involves dividing up your marital property and debts. While it may seem easy to divide assets like a home or checking account, other assets can be more complex to allocate. Retirement accounts, for example, can be particularly tricky to divide.

Is your spouse entitled to half of your retirement account?

Most family law judges will determine that your retirement account is considered marital property. However, they will typically only consider contributions made after your marriage as part of the retirement account. Any contributions that you made to the retirement account prior to being married are considered separate property.

Whether or not your former spouse is entitled to half of your retirement account will highly depend on the state that you live in. States with community property laws are split 50/50 down the middle. States with equitable distribution, such as Florida, may provide one spouse with a higher percentage than the other, depending on what they consider equitable.

Getting the right order

To ensure that each party is appropriately responsible for paying any applicable taxes and fees regarding the division of a retirement account, certain orders must be submitted. The type of order that is submitted will highly depend on the specific type of retirement account that a person has. Those who have an IRA would need to submit what is known as a Transfer Incident to Divorce Order. However, those with a 401k or 403b will need to submit what is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

Dividing up a retirement account during a divorce can be a complex process. While mediation or litigation may determine the exact division, you’ll be responsible for submitting the appropriate orders to complete this process. For this reason, it’s advisable to hire an attorney to assist you with this complex process.