Divorce usually involves some sort of property division. But splitting up your assets does not automatically include retirement plans. Even if your spouse has a significant retirement account, you do not get a fair share of it without asking the court for a qualified domestic relations order.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, a QDRO is a court order for a retirement plan to cover marital property rights, alimony or child support to a former spouse. Learn why you might need a QDRO during your divorce and how it works.
Retirement accounts are valuable assets
If your spouse has a retirement plan and stable finances, he or she may want to give you another asset instead of sharing the retirement account. For example, he or she may offer you the house instead. It is crucial for you to learn about what advantages and liabilities come with each result.
While it is possible there may be a beneficial financial settlement without splitting up the retirement account, you want to explore all your options. Your spouse may be trying to hold onto an unfair amount of wealth. Consider all the possibilities, preferably with the help of legal and financial experts.
Submitting a QDRO
First, you will need to identify all assets subject to division and try to reach a settlement agreement through negotiations. If you and your spouse fail to agree, the court will decide how to divide your assets. If you decide to split the retirement account, whether by agreement or through a court decision, you will need to submit a QDRO directly with the plan administrator. You must complete the paperwork involved with submitting a QDRO carefully.
Ultimately, you should try to get your fair share of any retirement assets. Make sure you talk to a lawyer about fighting for a piece of the retirement account.