When you are married and have spent several years or decades creating a life with your spouse, it is incredibly difficult to make the decision to divorce. And when it comes time dividing the assets, it can be an arduous and delicate process, especially when your retirement accounts are involved. After working hard to build up your savings so that you can enjoy your golden years, you might feel apprehensive about the splitting of retirement assets. If you are in this situation, the top family lawyers at Daniele Johnson & Associates will use their expertise in divorce law to ensure your future is secure.
Top Family Lawyers Advice: Splitting Retirement Accounts in a Divorce
Georgia is known as an equitable division state. This means that the judge in your divorce proceedings can split your retirement accounts based on what they think is fair. In this case, fair does not necessarily mean equal. When establishing the division of retirement assets, they will consider all accounts including 401(k), pension, IRA, 403(b), military retirement, 457, life insurance, social security, annuity and so on.
Determining the Equitable Division of Retirement Assets
There are several factors the judge will take into consideration when determining the equitable division of retirement accounts in your divorce.
- This is a key factor in splitting retirement assets. The judge will review how you and your spouse separately contributed to the retirement accounts. While this is usually measured by monetary contributions, there are some situations where only one spouse has an employer that offers benefits like 401(k). In this circumstance, the judge will review other intangible contributions like spousal support and childcare to decide what kinds of claims the non-contributing spouse may have to the accounts.
- Timeline of contributions. The timeline of the contributions that were made to the retirement assets during the marriage also plays a significant role in determining how they will be divided in your divorce. In situations where you made most of your contributions before the marriage, it is likely that you will retain ownership of the accounts. In situations where both of you made financial contributions throughout your relationship, the judge may split accounts based on percentages relative to these individual contributions.
- Planned reliance. During your divorce, the judge will inquire about your expectations for using the benefits from your retirement accounts in the future. If you and your spouse want to utilize the funds for your retirements, it is common for the judge to recommend an equal split.
- Financial circumstances. The judge will take you and your spouse’s separate financial circumstances into account when determining how to divide your retirement assets. This includes each spouse’s ability to earn an individual income after the divorce.
- Since it is customary for only one spouse’s name to appear on the documentation for retirement accounts, your judge may allow you to retain ownership of the accounts if you agree to your spouse taking other assets of value, like a car or home.
- Length of marriage. If you have been married for a longer period, it is more likely that your spouse will have claims to the retirement assets in your divorce.
Work with the Top Family Lawyers at Daniele Johnson & Associates Today
While determining how to split the retirement accounts in a divorce is a tricky and time-consuming process, the attorneys at Daniele Johnson & Associates can help you through your proceedings. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
The attorneys at Daniele Johnson & Associates know that when things seem to be falling apart, they are actually falling into place.