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If you get divorced, will it mean you can’t retire?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2022 | Divorce

There’s no question in your mind that you want to get a divorce. You’ve even talked with your spouse about it, and they would never have filed for divorce on their own, but they can see your point and they agree to end the marriage if that’s what you want.

What’s making you reconsider is simply the fact that you are in your 60s. You’ve been married for 30 years, and you had a lot of plans for the future. For instance, you and your spouse were planning to retire based on the pension plan that your spouse was earning at their job.

If you ask for a divorce, are you going to lose that pension entirely? And if you do that, does it mean that you won’t be able to retire? You do have an income, but you haven’t been saving for retirement because you were counting on your spouse. But is that now going to mean that you have to stay in a marriage that you would rather leave?

You can often split up a retirement plan

The good news here is that you can often split up a pension or retirement plan and still get a portion of it after the divorce.

Exactly how much of it you will get differs from case to case. Some common factors that are considered are how long you were married and when exactly your spouse was earning that pension. If you were married the entire time that they worked at that job, then you may be entitled to 50% of the pension. If you were only married for a portion of the time, then that 50% may have to be adjusted by multiplying it by the percentage of your marriage that covered your spouse’s working situation.

To divide a pension this way, you can use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This sets everything up in advance, even if your spouse has not retired yet and they are not yet drawing the pension. As soon as they start to get it, then the QDRO kicks in and you are given that percentage of your spouse’s monthly pension payments.

This whole process is very important to get right, so be sure that you know about all of the legal steps to take. It can help to work with an experienced and professional team that has created these documents before.

 

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