Who Gets Retirement Accounts After a Divorce?
Whenever couples get divorced, they go through the process of dividing their marital assets. These assets include any retirement accounts that were created during the time the couple was married. In some cases, retirement accounts could potentially be among the most valuable components of the overall estate, which means they can become a focus of divorce disputes.
Retirement accounts could include any of the following:
- Savings accounts that were established during the course of the marriage
- Pension benefits that were earned during a marriage
- Other retirement assets like IRAs, 401(k)s, thrift savings plans, stock options, annuities and other benefit and contribution plans.
However, not all retirement accounts are automatically counted as being marital property. Any accounts acquired before the marriage or received by gift or inheritance do not count as marital property, nor do accounts excluded by prenuptial agreements or payments made toward 401(k)s before the marriage began.
In determining who gets what accounts or benefits after a divorce, whether the account was marital property or not is the largest factor. In most cases, the benefits will be subject to an “equitable split” between the two depending on the same kinds of factors that are used to determine any kind of marital property division, including income and overall need. But those accounts and benefits that were not marital property will stay solely in possession of the owner, the person who initially opened those accounts.
To learn more about how retirement accounts and benefits are usually split in the divorce process, contact the respected Long Island attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.