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Who gets to keep the retirement account or pension in a divorce?

Who gets to keep the retirement account or pension in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2021 | Divorce

Big assets can cause big fights during a divorce. Marital homes and cabins are often points of contention in high-asset Minnesota divorces. Couples also often fight over financial resources like investment accounts, retirement saving plans and pensions.

If you or your ex contributed to a retirement plan or pension during your marriage, that asset could be an important consideration during your divorce. Its value might drastically increase the total value of your marital estate. Who has a right to the retirement account or pension when a couple divorces in Minnesota?

You must look at when funds went into the account

Unless you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement designating the retirement savings as separate property, they could be subject to division in your divorce. Under Minnesota’s equitable distribution standard, any assets and income accrued and acquired during your marriage can get split fairly by the courts based on your current circumstances.

Deposits that you made before you got married may be separate property, but both personal contributions and employer-matching contributions, as well as some of the interest earned, may be subject to division when you file for divorce. Each spouse may have a claim to a portion of the value accrued during the marriage, even if only one spouse ever directly contributed or the pension is a benefit of their employment.

How will the courts split a retirement account or pension?

Exactly how the courts handle your retirement savings are pension will depend on the structure of the account or pension. In many cases, the courts can order a specific split and then approve a Qualified Domestic Relations Order for one spouse to file with the plan administrator.

Other times, the courts might order spousal support if there isn’t a specific account to split. It’s also possible that the courts could put a value on each spouse’s share of the asset and then use that value during the distribution process to justify how they allocate other property or debts.

If you worry about a retirement account or hope to push for your fair share of a pension, making that part of your strategy early in the divorce process can make it easier to achieve your desired outcome.