You May Be Entitled To Part Of Your Ex’s Retirement Benefits
Before 1984, many people going through a divorce did not have a way to claim part of their former spouse’s retirement funds. The law changed in 1984 to include an amendment called the qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). A QDRO is a court order that allows a divorcing spouse to claim part of the other spouse’s retirement benefits through the division of marital property. With a QDRO, these benefits can be claimed while the former spouse is still alive. This change in law was incredibly important because a retirement account can be the largest asset in a marriage.
You can apply for a QDRO with retirement plans that are protected by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). This includes private pensions plans, 401(k)s and IRAs. Military and public employee retirement benefits are divided through other methods.
If your former partner has significant retirement assets that he or she acquired during the marriage, you are entitled to a percentage of those earnings. However, drafting an application for a QDRO is complex and time-consuming. Each type of retirement plan requires slightly different information on the QDRO application. As an experienced family law attorney, I can walk you through the process of the QDRO application and help ensure you include the right information.
An Attorney Who Will Not Let You Leave Money On The Table
For pension plans in Illinois, typically the Hunt Method is used for the division of pension benefits. For the Hunt Method, we take the number of years your former spouse contributed to the pension during the marriage divided by the total number of years your ex has contributed to the plan in total. That is multiplied by the monthly pension total to come up with marital portion of the benefit, and then you would receive half of that as your part of the split. If it sounds confusing, that is because dividing retirement accounts is a complicated process that generally requires some legal knowledge.
At Thomas M. Gurewitz, Attorney At Law, I will work with you to simplify and demystify the division of assets process. As your lawyer, I will ensure you do not leave money on table and that you receive your fair share of the marital assets.