Can I claim my husband’s pension in the divorce?

Can I claim my husband’s pension in the divorce?

When an Illinois couple divorces, they are required by state law to split their joint assets as part of the proceedings. These assets often include many different types of property, like real estate, cash, personal property and even retirement plans. A divorce attorney in Illinois knows that if a couple cannot agree on how to divide their property, the court must make the decisions for them.

For some women, divorce can take a significant toll on their financial situation, leaving them to wonder how they will make ends meet later on in life. Without a retirement account built up during a lifetime of employment, wives who have been out of the workforce could face monetary issues unless they are aware of how to obtain their fair share of a couple’s pension plan.

Pensions as marital property

Illinois considers pension plans to be part of the marital estate, so wives have a right to a portion of a husband’s pension, regardless of whether she contributed throughout the duration of the marriage. Any contributions made to the plan while the couple was married are subject to property division.

Valuation of pensions

In order to properly divide a pension, it must be assigned a value. It can be difficult to assign an exact value to a plan because there are different valuation methods for different pensions; however, a divorce attorney in Illinois understands that a financial expert can be brought in to help couples determine the value of their plan, as well as the value of the portion that is to be divided. If the couple decides to offset the pension with another asset rather than divide the plan, it is important to know the plan’s value so that the correct amount is offset.

The need for a QDRO

In Illinois, the court must provide a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, for a pension plan to be split. In order for a QDRO to be effective, as a divorce attorney in Illinois knows, there should be an outline provided for the plan’s administrator with instructions for how payments are to be made to the receiving spouse. State pension plans have special requirements and must follow the Illinois Pension Code, which requires the use of a qualified Illinois domestic relations order, or QIDRO.

Obtaining legal aid

Dividing retirement benefits can be very complicated, often leading couples to seek out legal assistance. A divorce attorney in Illinois may be able to provide advice and guidance to simplify the process and make sure that pensions are divided as fairly as possible.

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