Your Legal
For Life

How are retirement assets split in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2020 | Family Law |

Not only is divorce stressful, but separation from the money you worked hard for creates havoc for your bank account. You would like to split your assets amicably with your spouse, but this may not be possible.

You usually leave figuring out the intricacies of your 401(k) retirement to the experts. However, knowing that a divorce is imminent, you may try to guess how to split the assets. The problem arises with the calculations of both you and your spouse’s retirements. How much are you going to keep in your retirement after the divorce?

Division of assets

Iowa code 598.21 outlines the disposition of property. Several factors come into play, including the following:

  • Tax consequences
  • Age
  • Physical and mental health
  • Property bought before the marriage
  • Contribution of each party to the marriage
  • The length of the marriage

Dividing your retirement maybe a little more complicated.

Division of retirement

It may be in your best interest to agree with your spouse on how best to split the assets. If the two of you cannot agree, the court may decide for you. The judge may choose to cut your retirement completely in half if you worked at your job for the same length of time as your marriage. Or, the court may consider that because your retirement lasted longer than your marriage, your spouse will not get as much.

However, because there may be a division, federal law comes into play with the QDRO-qualified domestic relations orders. The QDRO is a complex court document separate from your divorce decree. The order goes to your retirement account administrator to disburse your spouse’s share either through rollovers or payments.

You need to remember that since the QDRO is separate from the divorce decree, you or your attorney must file the paperwork with the court. Without this document, you may not receive the money awarded to you.