Can I get a portion of my spouse’s retirement accounts in divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 2, 2021 | Divorce, High-Asset Divorce |

Saving for retirement is a team effort, and one that you’ve been working on over the course of a considerable portion of your adult lives. As such, it only makes sense that you would have a right to your fair share of your marital retirement accounts now that you’re getting a divorce. But what if your retirement account comes through your spouse’s employer? Is there any way to make sure that the account will pay out to you when it comes time for you to retire?

The problem with splitting retirement accounts

When you get your final divorce decree, the court will enforce a property division arrangement that takes place immediately. You and your spouse will each keep your individual separate property, and the court will divide your marital property.

However, a retirement account isn’t payable until you actually retire. That means that there isn’t a clean way of receiving your share of the account immediately upon your divorce. And years down the line, when you’re ready to retire, a divorce decree may not be enough to force your spouse’s employer to make your share of the retirement payments to you.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders

If your attorney goes through the proper steps to request one, the judge can include a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) in your final divorce decree. This is a special court order that governs the distribution of retirement account payments for a divorced couple that reaches retirement.

If you have a properly drafted QDRO in your divorce decree, you can use it when the time comes to make sure that you get your fair share of your spouse’s retirement account. That way, you don’t have to be left out in the cold when it comes to retirement payments.

You worked hard and did your fair share to make it possible for your spouse to build up that retirement account. Make sure that you are also able to have the comfortable retirement that you deserve through the use of a QDRO.