Dividing Retirement Accounts In Divorce Cases

Dividing retirement accounts in a divorce may seem like just one detail among many others, but it is a critical consideration for your long-term financial security. At the Law Firm of Debra J. Braselton, P.C., our founding attorney is recognized by legal peers and clients for her meticulous case preparation, and she dedicates special attention to the details of your retirement accounts so that these valuable assets are divided fairly and expeditiously.

The Complexities Of Retirement Account Apportionment

In general, retirement accounts — including defined contribution plans like 401(k) plans and defined benefit plans such as public-sector pensions — are considered marital assets. The amount of money that accrues to the account during a marriage is a marital asset.

Many factors can come into play when determining how retirement accounts could be divided. Illinois law requires distribution of assets to be "equitable" (fair), not a 50-50 split. Elements that must be considered include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The amount in the account and its projected balance upon retirement
  • If each spouse has his or her own retirement account and the amount of projected payout for each one
  • How the retirement accounts fit into the total asset picture for the divorcing couple

You Can Count On Us To Get The Details Right

If retirement benefits are part of your property division plan in your divorce, the right legal steps must be followed by your lawyer or you could face devastating consequences later. Your divorce settlement should include a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) or a qualified Illinois domestic relations order (QILDRO) if you or your spouse participated in a pension plan for a city, county or state agency in Illinois.

QDROs must be drafted precisely to be accepted by retirement plan administrators. Our lead attorney has prepared many such orders and understands how to prepare them so that they are entered properly. If your QDRO is not entered properly, there could be delays in receiving your retirement money, at a time when you were counting on it to help you thrive financially.

Consult With Us On Tough Divorce Questions

Because our firm focuses exclusively on family law, we have an exceptionally deep base of knowledge and experience. Rely on us for informed representation. Call our office in Oakbrook Terrace at 630-DIVORCE or 630-261-1222 or email us using our online contact form.