Pensions and Divorce
The process of divorce can be extremely overwhelming and stressful for many individuals. Aside from the emotional toll, there are several legal complications and financial issues such as child support, child custody, spousal maintenance and asset division, which require consideration. When it comes to asset division, a pension is complex.
A pension is a fund set up by an employer for their employees. It helps employees save money during their employment, which is used for living purposes during retirement. When a couple seeks divorce, dividing a pension can create legal disputes.
Can I Claim My Spouse’s Pension?
The amount of pension a spouse earns during the marriage is usually deemed as a part of the joint assets of both spouses. That being said, the court has the discretion to decide how the pension assets will be split between spouses. Basically, an order from the court is necessary for an individual to claim their spouse’s pension. A pension is considered as an asset, therefore, the decision on whether it will be divided or not is decided by the court, when other marital assets and debts are divided.
There are some pension plans that contain provisions for divorce, but their policies may vary. This may enable a person to receive a share from their former spouse’s pension fund. A majority of retirement plans will release payment directly to divorced spouses, depending upon certain requirements and laws prevailing in the jurisdiction where the divorce is taking place.
However, not all pension plans have this provision, so you may have to ask for a share and explore your legal options by hiring an experienced divorce lawyer. It is important to remember – even though you might not be able to receive your share until your spouse has reached the retirement age or dies, you should take a proactive approach and sort this matter out during the divorce process.
Whether you will be able to collect a portion of your spouse’s pension or not, also largely depends upon state laws, which vary from state-to-state. Also, the timing of divorce can play a crucial part in the final verdict. For instance, if you got divorced before the rules changed to allow direct payment to former spouses, you may find obstacles to receive the pension.
In the case of divorce, rules pertaining to the division of pension can be extremely complex to navigate and that’s why it’s critical to have a competent divorce lawyer by your side. Using their knowledge and skills, they can help you to obtain a share of your spouse’s payment.
A skillful divorce lawyer will initially try to negotiate a settlement, however, if unsuccessful, they will devise a solid case in your favor. Your attorney will also ensure your legal rights remain protected throughout the litigation process.
If you wish to learn more about pension and divorce or want to schedule a free consultation, contact Law Office of Fedor Kozlov at 847-380-3771 to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer.