Can you get part of your spouse’s retirement plan?

Posted by David Jacks | Nov 23, 2015

On behalf of The Jacks Law Group posted in high asset divorce on Thursday, June 25, 2015.

When dividing assets in Las Vegas, Nevada, during a divorce, you start with many of the tangible assets that you and your spouse own, such as your home, your bank account and any other big-ticket items. However, it's important to remember that a significant part of your spouse's wealth could be tied up in a retirement plan. Though it hasn't been paid out yet — it may pay on a monthly basis — this is still a big source of income with a lot of value. Can you get part of it for yourself?

In some cases, this is definitely possible. To get it, you need to get a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or a QDRO.

This order is something that is given out by a judge. You don't have to sign it and neither does your spouse. It is simply a mandate laid out by the court saying that a certain amount of the benefits have to be given to you as an alternate payee.

So, who can be an alternate payee? This list is pretty short, but it is not just limited to you as a former spouse. The list includes either a spouse or a former spouse, the person's child (or children, if applicable) or another dependent of the person who is a participant in the plan.

In some cases, the court may even rule that you are entitled to all of the benefits and not just a portion, though this is examined on a case-by-case basis.

As your divorce progresses, be sure you know exactly what assets you're entitled to.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, “Qualified Domestic Relations Orders,” accessed June 25, 2015

About the Author

David Jacks

David Jacks has over a decade of legal experience and he is a lifetime resident of Las Vegas and a veteran of the United States Army. After the completion of his service in the military, Jacks began working as a construction superintendent in Las Vegas during a major period of growth for the city.

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