Getting a divorce is a possibility for any married person. Though you may have believed that your marriage would stand the test of time, and may have for decades, you have recently reached the point where your relationship just no longer works. Any number of issues could have acted as a catalyst, but whatever the reason, divorce is on the horizon.
Because your marriage did span decades, you may be closer to retirement than ever before. Understandably, you may have concerns about how ending your marriage will affect your retirement plans, and it is wise to have this concern. After all, retirement funds are divisible during divorce under Florida equitable division laws.
Retirement at risk
It is probable that you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan or pension plan. You may have even taken the extra measures to set up an individual retirement account to add even more retirement funds to your future. You likely already had big plans for how you would spend those funds, and divorce could certainly throw a wrench in those plans as your spouse likely has a claim to those funds.
The amount of funds your spouse could obtain as part of the property division proceedings depends on what the court finds fair. The court bases equitable division on fairness and not necessarily equality, so do not expect a 50-50 split of assets.
Your spouse would need a QDRO
Before you worry that your soon-to-be ex-spouse could simply dip into your retirement funds any time he or she wanted, that is not how this type of scenario works. Your spouse would need a qualified domestic relations order to ensure that the correct amount of money is transferred from your employer-sponsored retirement account to his or her account. However, it is important to note that a QDRO is not necessary for the division of IRA funds.
Can you protect your retirement funds?
Before you lose all hope of keeping your retirement funds, you may want to remember that negotiation often plays a significant part in property division proceedings. You may find that your future ex is willing to compromise, and you could perhaps offer other assets in order to keep your retirement funds or at least to keep more of those funds. However, the negotiations must remain fair, or the court may not approve the agreement. Fortunately, you can discuss your options for protecting your retirement funds with an experienced attorney.