The primary function of the court during a divorce is to facilitate an equitable division of assets. This includes assets accumulated by each spouse that are intended to provide security during retirement such as individual retirement accounts, bank accounts and in some cases, pensions. A recent article published by Vicky Shaw with Yahoo Finance noted the surprise that some divorce litigants experience when they learn that their pensions and retirement accounts may be included as marital property.
A recent survey showed that one in six (15%) of divorced people say they did not realize their pension could be affected by splitting up. In fact, more than 34% said they made no claim on their former partner’s pension, according to the survey of 1,000 divorcees interviewed. One troubling statistic revealed that nearly 8% of divorcees did not have their own personal savings and were relying on their ex-spouse for retirement.
When couples are going through the divorce process it is important to understand the impact that it will have on the family finances, including pensions. The retirement picture completely changes for some after a divorce due to the realization that they simply won’t have as much in their retirement and or pension accounts after the divorce. This inevitably leads to some divorcees choosing to supplement income following a divorce via savings, credit cards and borrowing money from friends and family. Further, some report going back to work, getting a second job or cutting back on pension contributions altogether.
In the State of Georgia, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) are utilized to fairly divide pension-related assets amongst married couples. Essentially, the QDRO treats the recipient spouse as a plan participant for the purpose of receiving a distribution from the pension. The answer as to whether or not pension or retirement accounts will be subject to equitable division is different in each case. However, assets accumulated during the marriage will generally be viewed as the property of both parties, this includes retirement and pension accounts. Regardless, it is important that anyone considering a divorce obtain legal advice from an experienced Atlanta Divorce Attorney. The Faucette Law Firm, LLC represents clients in all family law and divorce-related matters including contested and uncontested divorce, spousal support, child support, child custody, legitimations, adoptions and modifications. We serve Atlanta, Fulton, Cobb, Douglas, DeKalb, Clayton, Fayette, Paulding, Coweta, Carroll, Gwinnett and Henry. Contact our law firm today for a consultation.