Your spouse has worked long and hard during your marriage, and they’ve amassed a significant retirement nest egg — a nest egg you expected to one day share. Now, however, you’re getting a divorce.
With all the sacrifices that you’ve made during your marriage, including perhaps giving up your own career aspirations to support your spouse or to raise the kids, you may feel that you should receive something in return.
Staking a claim to your spouse’s retirement seems like the ideal option, but how do you do that? You need a qualified domestic relations order to do so.
What are QDROs?
All divorces end when you and your spouse reach a settlement agreement (unless you go to trial). The judge reviews it to ensure that you two have divided your assets equitably per New York Law. However, you need one more document in place to secure your share of your spouse’s pension or retirement plan, and that’s a QDRO.
A QDRO lets the plan administrator know to allocate a portion of the funds in that account to you instead of your ex-spouse. This needs to be prepared before the judge signs off on your divorce decree and quickly submitted to the pension plan’s administrator.
Staking a claim to your spouse’s retirement plan isn’t always the best property division option in a divorce case because you may have to pay penalties for an early withdrawal from such an account. You may opt to claim other valuable property for yourself, such as the marital home instead. There are pros and cons associated with different property division choices. You should familiarize yourself with those to ensure you’re making the best choices for your situation.