People rarely consider the long-term repercussions of divorce on their retirement plans unless they’re approaching retirement age. They tend to be more focused on starting their lives over again and finding some semblance of normality as quickly as possible following an emotional divorce. However, it’s incredibly important to ensure your retirement account stays on track. Here are some things you can do to protect your retirement assets during a divorce.
Understand Social Security Benefits
If you and your spouse were married for at least 10 years, you might be entitled to half of your spouse’s Social Security benefits. If you earned Social Security benefits of your own, you could claim the greater amount, but you cannot claim both. Remarrying will also disqualify you from claiming your ex’s benefits.
Preparing a QDRO
Qualified retirement plans are dividing using a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). These documents instruct retirement plan administrators on how to distribute benefits to a spouse who hasn’t participated in the plan but is claiming his or her share in a divorce. Discuss this claim preparation with your attorney.
The QDRO also covers survivor benefits. These benefits ensure you continue to receive payments after your ex dies. Make sure you tell your lawyer to request survivor benefits specifically. They are not automatically applied in all cases.
If you need help negotiating the best way to protect your retirement assets, don’t hesitate to call us. Our skilled Newport Beach divorce attorneys are happy to discuss your options with you. Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP works exclusively on Orange County’s family law cases, so we are extremely knowledgeable about California divorce and family law. Let us see what we can do for you.
Contact us at (949) 565-4158 or fill out our online form to schedule your free case review today.