Retirement Accounts & Your Divorce

Aug 8, 2012 by

The concept of dividing a person’s retirement account at the time of divorce can seem unfair at times. The fact that a spouse usually has a fifty percent right to a retirement account depending upon how long the two have been married does not always sit well with the main wage earner involved in a divorce. Some people might think it unfair that their spouse is entitled to fifty percent of their retirement account or pension because they were the person who got up and went to work everyday to earn the money, not their spouse.

However, the courts often figure that a spouse has an equal right to the retirement benefits since they were acquired during the course of the marriage and that even housewives who did not work at all are entitled to their share of a pension or retirement account. A judge will take into account how long you and your spouse have been married  to each other and then decide how much of your retirement that your spouse has a equal right to. The same situation can apply to pensions as well, especially if the retirement benefit was earned during the course of a long term marriage. If your spouse supported you emotionally and took care of the household over the course of a long marriage, many courts will rule that they contributed to the overall well-being of the marriage just as much as you did financially.

Another thing that the courts can take into consideration is the time and effort spent in college to earn your degree and to eventually become successful. If your spouse supported you financially during that time, the court will probably consider your degree as a marital asset that your spouse is entitled to share the proceeds of. When you total up the costs of an attorney, alimony, child support and half of your retirement benefits, getting a divorce may not seem a very attractive idea. Even though you may feel your spouse has no claim to your retirement benefits, if you have been married for any length of time, you run the risk of losing half of what you have worked so hard to gain throughout your life.


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