Divorce can be complicated. In addition to identifying, managing, and splitting marital assets in an equitable way, you must also juggle the emotional toll of ending a marriage with the responsibilities of setting out on your own once again – and the difficulties of making that happen. You may also still have children at home and need to figure out child support or custody issues.
In the midst of all these responsibilities, it can be easy to overlook pensions and retirement benefits, especially if you are not the spouse who has been accruing them. Here are three reasons not to let these assets slip by the wayside:
- Pensions and retirement benefits can be the largest assets shared in a marriage.
For many couples, pensions and retirement funds represent the single largest share of their personal assets. Even couples who have family businesses, multiple homes, or other significant assets find that retirement benefits make up a substantial part of the whole. By overlooking them, you risk receiving an inequitably low share of the assets the marriage has acquired.
- Retirement benefits may not be shared out automatically.
In New York, a spouse secures his or her share of a former spouse’s pension or benefits during a divorce by means of a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), depending on the type of benefits involved. This is a court order, signed by a judge that instructs the plan administrator on how to share out benefits. Without such an order, you may find yourself shut out of a share of retirement benefits when you need them most.
- Retirement benefits protect you in the future.
Divorce imposes so many immediate demands that planning ten, twenty, or thirty years into the future can seem impossible. Without access to your share of retirement benefits, however, these years can be unnecessarily and unfairly difficult. By keeping retirement benefits in mind now, you help protect yourself in the future and ease the burden on others.
For help identifying and dividing retirement benefits, talk to an experienced New York divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC.