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Dividing Retirement Assets During a Divorce


Retirement plans are designed and contributed to during a marriage with the assumption that the couple will stay together for the duration of their lives. However, in today’s society, this is far from reality for many couples in this country. Thus, as couples divorce, one of the most highly contested issues in a divorce is ensuring that each spouse gets an adequate portion of the couple’s retirement savings. An issue that arises when attempting to divide retirement assets is that most retirement plans are designed to only allow the benefits to go to the person that opened the retirement account. However, one of the possible ways to get around this issue is with a QDRO or qualified domestic relations order. This coupled with the help of an experienced divorce attorney can ensure that you are receiving the financial assets you deserve during a divorce.

Understanding Qualified Domestic Relations Orders

During a divorce, the couple will work with their attorneys to divide assets they shared and acquired during the course of the marriage. For many couples, their retirement accounts may be some of their largest assets. However, the issue is that most retirement plans only allow the principal owner to receive the benefits. The QDRO is used to resolve this issue. Essentially, the QDRO is a judicial order ensures the retirement accounts are evenly distributed between the two individuals. Through the use of the QDRO, the other spouse (known as the alternate payee) will receive the benefits in the form of alimony or child support. In order for a QDRO to be considered valid it must include the following information:

  • The names of both spouses;
  • The addresses of both spouses;
  • The name and information for each of the retirement accounts requiring the QDRO;
  • The agree upon breakdown of money to be given to each spouse;
  • The agreed upon payment plan for the couple.

It is important to remember that while a QDRO is often effective, it does not work in all situations. For a QDRO to work the retirement plan must be governed by the ERISA or Employee Retirement Income Security Act. This is a federal law that regulates standards for retirement plans and health plans.

Let Us Assist You with Your Case

If you are going through a divorce and are in need of a QDRO, it is important that you reach out to an experienced Florida divorce attorney. During your divorce property division will likely be one of your most highly contested topics. This process can time and must be agreed upon otherwise the court will be forced to allocate the property how they see fit. At the Fort Lauderdale offices of Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A., we strive to provide our clients with the best information possible, helping them ultimately achieve the outcome that is most beneficial for their future. Regardless of what your objective is during the divorce, we will be able to stand by your side and advocate on your behalf as you work to get the property you desire. For more information call our Fort Lauderdale property attorneys at 954-945-7591 for a free consultation.



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