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Do pension plans get divided in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2022 | Property & Asset Division, Property Division

Your spouse has a pension plan, and they’ve been earning into it for the last 10 years that they’ve been at their job. This pension plan is a big part of how you hoped to retire.

But you’re not nearly at retirement age yet, and you and your spouse have started talking about divorce. If you do split up, does this mean that you lose your access to that pension plan? Or is there a way to split up pension plans in divorce?

You can use a QDRO

The good news is that you can split up pension plans when a marriage ends. These are still considered to be marital assets.

What you need to do is use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This order officially makes it so that a percentage of each pension payment has to go to you, while the rest goes to your spouse. The exact percentage that is allotted is different in every case, so it’s difficult to say exactly how much you would get. It is based on a lot of factors, such as the length of your marriage or how long your spouse has been working at the current job.

But, regardless of exactly what the specifics are going to look like, do not forget that you do deserve some of those marital assets. Just because your spouse isn’t getting the payments yet doesn’t mean that you have no rights to those assets. Nor does your spouse just get to keep all of the pension money because they were the one who was employed, despite what they may tell you. 

Be sure you know what steps to take to secure the payments you deserve when you decide to divorce.