Divorces aren’t just about the end of a romantic relationship; they’re also about negotiating custody schedules, figuring out who gets what pet and dividing property. The division of property can sometimes mean something simple like selling a home and splitting the proceeds. However, when the couple has been married for a long time and has shared investments or retirement accounts, things become more complicated.
Retirement accounts are often an issue in divorce courts. Typically, both parties will be expected to share what is held in these accounts. In many cases, the parties are asked to divide their own accounts and share the amounts evenly. There are, however, some exceptions to this. Sometimes, an individual keeps the assets they’ve accumulated in retirement accounts.
There are different terms used depending on which assets are being divided. For example, transfers from IRA accounts are called transfers incident to divorce. For 401(k) and 403(b) plans, accounts are divided pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. A domestic relations order is also used to define how pensions will be handled.
Each party in a divorce needs to decide what strategy they’d like to pursue when it comes to financial assets. Some believe in asking for half. Others feel that they have a better chance of getting half by asking for more. Still others believe they’re entitled to the greater share for any number of reasons. One way to determine an effective strategy is to consult with an experienced divorce attorney. A professional advocate may help valuate a couple’s advocates and present options for equitable division.