Are Retirement Benefits Automatically Split In Divorce?
Heading into the process of divorce and property division in New York, you should be aware that not all assets are split equally between spouses. Like with other marital assets, an agreement between you and your spouse or an order from a judge will divide benefits related to retirement. You should prepare to be as knowledgeable as possible about existing benefits to prepare for property division.
There are many different types of retirement benefits, including deferred compensation plans, pension plans, 403(b) plans, and 401(k) plans. If your spouse has changed employers several times, it’s possible that he or she has separate individual retirement accounts, so conduct due diligence and research all possible locations.
In the state of New York, retirement benefits earned during the marriage are classified as marital property, meaning that they can be divided between you and your former spouse when the marriage is dissolved. This can impact a retirement account in several ways. For example, your former spouse may be entitled to a part of the pension funds, you may have to name your former spouse as beneficiary for any payable death benefits in the pre-retirement period, your former spouse can be entitled to portions of your cost-of-living adjustment, or you may be order to select a retirement option that gives a continuing benefit to your former spouse in the event that you pass away.
The concept of retirement benefits, pension funds, and related accounts can be a complex part of a property division in a New York divorce. Conduct a thorough accounting of all possible retirement benefits early on in the divorce filing process so that you are knowledgeable about marital property that could be divided between you and your spouse. A judge will review these details for equitable property distribution.