When a couple divorces, one of the most important considerations is what will happen to the property the couple shares. This includes things like bank accounts, physical assets and retirement accounts. The division of marital property is not easy, especially when it pertains to retirement accounts, which directly affect the long-term financial health of both parties.
You and your spouse worked hard to save for retirement, yet a divorce can bring your plans for your golden years to a halt. It's in your interests to fight for a fair share of long-term savings and to learn how property division laws may affect your divorce order. As you prepare for divorce, it's smart to learn about your rights and what to expect from the process ahead.
Protecting one of your most valuable assets
Your retirement savings, especially if you have been working and saving for many years, is probably one of your most valuable assets. Some couples are able to finalize their property division order out of court, but whether you will be able to do this or end up in court, you will benefit from knowing the following facts about how property division affects retirement accounts:
- If you or your spouse had an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the other spouse is likely entitled to a portion of those savings.
- A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a document that is often necessary in a divorce to outline how the division and distribution of pension assets should work.
- A QDRO is a way to protect your interests because it is a court order and legally enforceable – ensuring you get your fair share of the assets.
- It is important to ensure the proper drafting of a QDRO, which you can do by working with an experienced attorney.
Marital property is anything you and your spouse bought, earned or accumulated over the course of the marriage. Whether you stayed home with the kids, were the primary breadwinner or you worked part-time, you are entitled to a fair share of marital assets.
Protecting your long-term interests
One of your goals during a divorce should be to protect your long-term interests and lay the foundation for a strong future. You can do this by approaching the issue of property division with a reasonable perspective and a focus on what is most important long-term.
It is also greatly beneficial to work with a Missouri legal advocate who can represent your interests in the property division process. He or she can explain your rights and help you fight for the post-divorce retirement you deserve.