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Will I get to keep my retirement savings after divorce?

The end of a marriage will signal significant financial changes and adjustments for both parties involved, even years after a divorce. If you are planning to divorce and nearing retirement age, one of your most important concerns likely involves the potential impact that the end of your marriage could have on your long-term savings.

LGBT couples may still face special challenges with family law issues in Florida. If a same-sex couple decides to divorce, it can be useful to understand how the division of retirement benefits works and how a person may pursue the specific objective of protecting his or her interests both during the divorce and long into the golden years.

Is my spouse entitled to a portion of my retirement?

In many cases, yes, your spouse will likely have a rightful claim to at least a portion of your retirement savings. Like all marital property, retirement savings accumulated over the course of the marriage is subject to division upon divorce. The type of account in question will determine if your spouse will have immediate access to these benefits or if he or she will have to wait for your retirement.

The division of retirement assets goes according to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Most types of retirement accounts require this document, and the court has the power to issue a QDRO to dictate the division of these assets. You may also need to know the following about a QDRO:

  • By issuing a QDRO, the court can distribute retirement assets to a former spouse, child or other beneficiary.
  • When the court issues a QDRO, the plan must honor it.
  • A QDRO may be issued through the approval of a property settlement agreement or through a court order, judgment or decree.

It can be difficult to let go of your hard-earned money, even in the most amicable of divorces. Fortunately, it is possible to maintain some control over what happens to your retirement.

The right to decide what happens to your money

If a couple is willing to work together and reasonably resolve divorce issues, it may be possible to avoid litigation and keep the final divorce order out of the hands of the court. You have worked hard to earn and save your money, and this option offers you a way to possibly maintain more control over what happens to it.

With the help of an experienced attorney, LGBT couples may find benefit in using negotiation and discussion to resolve retirement savings disputes and navigate other unique challenges that may arise. Divorce may require an adjustment in your plans, but this step does not mean you will have to abandon your dreams for a happy, comfortable post-work life.

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