Do I have to split my retirement funds in a divorce?

The way that you divide your property with your spouse in your upcoming Louisiana divorce will determine your financial stability for years to come. The more that your ex claims in the divorce, the less you will have to rebuild your life.

Obviously, your biggest assets will be the source of the biggest conflicts in your upcoming divorce proceedings. Houses, family-owned businesses and investments are often among the most hotly-contested property in litigated Louisiana divorces. They can also cause major complications during mediation or other alternative dispute resolution efforts.

Retirement savings can be worth almost as much as the home where you live, sometimes even more. Will you have to share a retirement account in your name with your spouse when you divorce?

Retirement savings are often marital property

If you don’t already have an agreement of that specifically protects your retirement resources, then you can generally expect to divide at least some of your retirement savings when you divorce. Louisiana law typically requires that spouses split what they purchase or earn while married to one another.

Your marital contributions to your retirement account are subject to division even if the account is only in your name and your ex has no ownership interest in it. You don’t have to accept penalties. If there is a positive side to dividing retirement savings in a divorce, it is the ability to avoid penalties if you handle the process properly. You can use a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to arrange for the division of retirement savings without triggering any financial penalties or taxes.

You can negotiate other arrangements

While at least some of your retirement account’s balance will usually be subject to division in litigated divorce proceedings, you may have other options if you settle your disagreements with your spouse outside of family court.

The two of you potentially reach your own arrangements for the division of your property. So long as your spouse agrees to your settlement proposal, you could keep your retirement savings without dividing the account at all. You will likely have to make some difficult decisions to achieve a specific outcome in your Louisiana divorce.

Using the right approach will increase your chances of preserving your most valuable assets in your Louisiana divorce. Contact our Lafayette family law attorneys today at Southern Oaks Law Firm.