Your spouse has a pension and it’s a very valuable asset. In fact, it is the main fund that you plan to use when you retire. Your spouse has worked at this job for decades in part because they want those pension payments.
But now you are getting divorced, so you’re worried about losing your access to that pension plan. You find out that you can use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to claim the pension during the divorce. You don’t simply have to let your ex keep it.
But does this mean that you’ll get the entire pension? Is divorce going to change your retirement plans?
You can get a portion of the plan
Generally speaking, no, the QDRO is not going to give you 100% of that pension. It is just going to define a percentage that should be allotted to you. The simplest way to think about this is by using 50%.
But then you also have to remember that this might not be 50% of the entire pension. It could be 50% of the amount of the pension your spouse earned while you were married. If they were already working at the company before the two of you got married, or if they’re going to keep working for years after the divorce, then they don’t have to split the portion of the pension earned during those years. You may find that you only get 25 or 30% of those monthly payments.
In other words, using a QDRO is very important, but it can still mean that your retirement plans have to change. It’s important to carefully look into all of your legal options.