Divorce: What happens to retirement accounts?

| Dec 17, 2020 | Blog, Divorce |

There’s no doubt that divorce in Minnesota can bring on some of the most challenging financial times of a person’s life. Even if there aren’t any major expenses involved, you will likely need to deal with the division of assets. One of the most asked about assets includes retirement accounts and how they will look during and after the divorce. The following includes further information on this subject to help you understand the process that much better.

Qualified domestic relations order

One of the most common misconceptions about retirement accounts or company-issued 401ks is that the other spouse won’t be able to touch them. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Any assets obtained during the marriage would be marital property; thus, a spouse can obtain part of these retirement accounts.

Fortunately, there are a couple of things you can do. Obtaining a Qualified Domestic Relations Order — or QDRO for short — may be enough to protect your retirement accounts from total loss by your spouse during a divorce. Keep in mind that this does not apply to military or government pensions.

Creating a QDRO

Simply creating a QDRO is not enough to guarantee the protection of your accounts just yet. Your application will first go through the system and then see approval by the retirement account’s plan administrator as well as the courts themselves. In fact, plan administrators will have their own type of QDRO form that you would need to fill out along with your attorney.

The divorce process can be very complex, especially when it involves retirement accounts. Thus, it is important to hire an attorney with skills in these types of legal issues.