Pensions are often a top priority when you are divorcing. The person who was working likely put a lot of time in to get the pension to where it is today. When it is time to divide this asset, there are some unique considerations to think about.

One of the most important things to remember is that if you want to ask for part of your ex’s pension, you must do this during the divorce. You can’t come back later, such as when they retire, and suddenly demand a part of the account.

If you are awarded part of the pension, you will have a document from the court termed the qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This sets the exact terms that the pension administrator will need to divide the asset.

It isn’t always easy to know how to split the pension or what you will receive. Sometimes, you will have to have the account valuated so you know what needs to be split. This is usually necessary if you are going to use the dollar method of division where you receive a specific dollar amount from the account. It usually isn’t necessary if you are using a percentage method.

A final word of caution is that you should be wary if your ex is offering something in exchange for not having to divide the pension. In these cases, you must have the valuation process done so that you know if this is in your best interest or not. It is always best to explore all options so that you know how they will impact you before you make decisions.