Family & Relationships Marriage & Divorce

How an Orlando Divorce Attorney Helps with Retirement and Divorce Issues

When you are getting a divorce, you may be focused on dividing up your current assets and on taking care of issues related to custody, spousal support and child support. However, it is very important as you end your marriage to think of your future, and many people forget to do this adequately, neglecting to protect their right to retirement benefits. An Orlando divorce attorney can help to make sure this does not happen in your divorce.

In the state of Florida, retirement accounts and assets saved for retirement may be considered marital property. This means that these assets must be dealt with in the process of dividing up property and ending your marriage. Many people who opt for a DIY divorce will forget to deal with these issues, but an Orlando divorce attorney will ensure that you take all steps necessary to protect your legal rights.

Your right to a portion of your spouse's retirement account is determined based on, among other things, how long you have been married and the type of retirement benefits that are in question. For instance, to be entitled to your spouse's military retirement benefits, you must have been married to your spouse for a designated minimum amount of time while your spouse was serving in the military. An experienced divorce attorney will look at the specific types of pension, benefits and retirement accounts that you have and will help you to understand the qualifying requirements for earning a part of those benefits.

When you are entitled to a portion of retirement benefits in a divorce, you may not be able to divide up the accounts immediately at the time of divorce. This is true, for example, if your spouse has a 401K. You would not want to cash in the 401K to divide it up, since you would both suffer a serious tax hit and lose a good portion of the money in that account if you did this. You also cannot divide up a defined benefits plan such as a pension that starts making regular payouts only after a certain age.

When a retirement account cannot be divided immediately, a divorce attorney can help you to obtain a qualified domestic relations order, or a QDRO. A QDRO is a specific legal order directing the administrator of the pension plan on how to divide up the money among the two spouses who are each entitled to a portion of the benefits.

Getting Legal Help

As you can see, protecting your retirement when getting a divorce can be a complicated and complex legal task. It is not a task that you should typically true to do on your own, and it is not a task you will get help with if you opt for a DIY divorce using pre-prepared forms or papers. With the help of an Orlando divorce attorney, on the other hand, you can make sure that you receive what you are entitled to and you can ensure a solid financial future even after your marriage has ended.

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