Contemplating a divorce in Oregon? There are a number of factors that will
have to be considered, including
division of assets and debts. While many people think of the house, car, and personal items when they
think of assets, there are other types of assets that are subject to division
as well. Did you know that things like investments, stock options, business
interests, pensions, and retirement funds are considered marital property
in the same way that a house and bank account are?
You may be entitled to a share of:
- Pension benefits earned during a marriage
- Retirement savings accounts that were funded during a marriage
- Earnings on these accounts that accumulated during the marriage
Retirement plans are usually the largest asset in a marriage, but are often
overlooked. If a retirement plan is not addressed during a divorce, a
spouse can end up losing out on a significant portion of the marital assets
to which they are entitled.
Here’s what you need to know about how retirement benefits are affected
Retirement Savings Accounts
Retirement funds in accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs that have been acquired
during the marriage are subject to property division just like any other
marital asset. The division of retirement plans that qualify under IRS
and ERISA regulations is determined with a Qualified Domestic Relations
Order (QDRO), which must be entered with the family court. Retirement
funds provided by other organizations (such as the military) are transferred
using special court orders.
The pensions of both spouses earned during a marriage are considered marital
property and are subject to division at divorce. If a spouse began working
for their employer before the marriage and earned benefits, those benefits
earned as a single person would be considered separate property, while
any benefits earned after their marriage are subject to division. Vesting
is an important consideration, as the contributions of an employer only
belong to the employee if they have been employed for the length of time
defined in the company’s vesting schedule.
Social Security Benefits
If you have been married to your spouse for 10 years or more, you may be
entitled to Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work
record if you meet the following criteria:
- You are 62 or older
- You are unmarried
- Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security benefits
- The benefits you are entitled to, based on your own work record, are less
than what you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s record
If you start taking out benefits at full retirement age and are eligible
to collect benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record, you will
be entitled to one-half of your ex’s benefits. Note that if you
remarry, you generally cannot collect an ex-spouse’s benefits unless
your later marriage ends.
Questions? We’re Here to Help
Property division matters are best addressed with the guidance of an experienced
divorce attorney. If you have filed for divorce in Oregon and there is
a retirement plan involved, contact McKinley Irvin to set up a consultation
with a Portland divorce lawyer. We can thoroughly assess your case and
ensure that you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled.
With decades of combined experience and a reputation of excellence in
the Pacific Northwest, we have successfully handled hundreds of divorce
cases utilizing our meticulous and strategic approach. We invite you to
contact us to get started discussing your case.