Can My Spouse Take My Retirement Benefits in a Divorce?

money from retirement benefits

When going through a divorce, there are a number of considerations you must make throughout the process. Though you know you have to share your martial assets based on New York’s equitable distribution laws, knowing where your retirement benefits fall is essential to planning your future. If you are getting divorced, understanding what will happen to your retirement funds is essential. Keep reading to learn more and discover how divorce attorneys in Nassau county can help you navigate this challenging time.

How Will Divorce Impact My Retirement Benefits?

Generally, there are a few different types of benefits that Americans receive: individually owned accounts, like Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), employer-sponsored 401ks, and social security benefits.

If you have an IRA, or 401k which your spouse will need Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to access the funds in the account without incurring exuberant taxes, they can be distributed as marital property. It’s also important to note that only the funds in your 401k and IRA after you were married will be subjected to distribution during your divorce. For example, if you had $20,000 in the account before you were married and accrued $80,000 during your marriage, only the $80,000 will be considered marital property.

However, it is essential to understand that New York does not follow community property distribution laws, meaning they will split assets based on the contribution of each spouse to the marriage instead do dividing marital property evenly between both partners.

If you receive social security benefits and your spouse meets the necessary requirements, they will also receive benefits on your behalf. It is vital to note that they will not impact your benefits. If they qualify, your spouse will receive 50% of the payments you receive, but you will still receive the full amount of social security that you are owed. In fact, you likely won’t even know that your ex-spouse applied for these benefits. To qualify for social security on behalf of a spouse, an individual must meet the following requirements:

  • 62 years old
  • Married to their ex-spouse for at least 10 years before divorcing
  • Have not remarried (unless you are over the age of 60)
  • Two years have passed since the divorce

What Should I Do if I’m Getting Divorced?

If you get divorced, it can be a confusing and troubling time. However, ensuring you have the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney on your side can help you protect the finances you’ve worked hard to secure. This is essential to ensure you can take care of yourself following a divorce in which your retirement benefits are at risk.

When you need help with your divorce, Barrows Levy PLLC can help. Our dedicated legal team has the experience you need to help you protect your retirement benefits. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through this troubling time.

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