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Who gets the retirement accounts when you divorce?

In all likelihood, you and your spouse have accumulated a significant amount of money in your respective retirement accounts and/or pension plans during the course of your marriage. If you now seek a Florida divorce, which of you gets which portion of these accounts, and in what manner, becomes a major consideration.

Reuters reports that dividing up retirement accounts during a divorce can easily become a hugely complicated process. Unfortunately, the older your age when you divorce, the more important these accounts become since they may well represent not only a significant portion of your marital assets, but also the main source of income both you and your spouse will have once you retire.


If you have never heard of a qualified domestic relations order, you need to know that you and your spouse likely will need one when you divide up your retirement accounts. Why? Because many pension plans contain specific distribution and other rules. If you fail to follow these rules in your property settlement agreement, you could face serious financial and tax consequences.

Before attempting to divide up any pension plan, contact the plan’s administrator, ask him or her if (s)he has a model QDRO form and, if (s)he does, ask if (s)he will send you a copy of it so your attorney can use it as a guide for drafting yours. Then once you have the initial draft, run it by the plan administrator to make sure it complies with all the pension plan’s rules and required specific language.

Ultimately you and your spouse must sign each of your QDROs, get the judge to approve them, and then make sure they become attached to your property settlement agreement and your divorce decree. This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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