How Are Retirement Assets Divided In Divorce?

When getting divorced and dividing up assets, most of us would naturally think of the assets we interact with on a daily basis — our household possessions, the money in joint bank accounts and real estate, just to name a few. But one of our most important assets is often overlooked: retirement savings. Even if you are decades away from retirement, you likely can't afford to miss out on accumulated funds that will significantly compound over time.

At DeFazio Bal, our experienced attorneys will help you identify all assets — including retirement savings, and divide them appropriately. On this page, you'll learn more about how retirement assets are classified and how that may impact your future funds.

Marital Vs. Separate Property: A Matter Of Timing

Virginia uses the equitable distribution model when it comes to property division. This means that marital property must be divided equitably among both spouses (though not necessarily equally). Most assets obtained during the marriage (or increasing in value during the marriage) are considered marital property. Assets obtained before marriage or after the date of separation will generally be considered separate property.

Regardless of which spouse's name is on a given retirement plan, both spouses are usually entitled to up to half of the account funds accumulated during the marriage. Premarriage and post-separation funds would typically be considered separate property.

Types Of Retirement Plans

There are numerous types of retirement plans. Here are the most common:

  • Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • 401(k) plans
  • 403(b) plans
  • Company pension plans
  • Military pensions
  • Federal civil service pensions

In most cases, dividing up retirement accounts requires a document known as a Qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). Although these documents can be complex and tedious, you won't need to worry about filling one out because we will gladly do if for you.

Learn More By Scheduling An Initial Consultation

DeFazio Bal serves clients throughout Central Virginia from our offices in Midlothian and Glen Allen. To discuss your legal needs with an experienced family law lawyer, call us at 804-419-6551 or fill out our online contact form.