Pension, Defined Benefit Plans, And Divorce In Florida: A Guide To Your Rights
A pension is a fund into which money is added on behalf of an individual during their employment years to be drawn from during their retirement. A pension plan—and other retirement assets—can be difficult to deal with in a divorce. You may be wondering: Are pension benefits subject to property distribution in a Florida divorce? The short answer is “yes”—though the value accumulated pre-marriage may still be a separate asset. In this blog post, our Coral Springs and Boca Raton high net worth divorce attorneys provide a guide to pension benefits and property division in Florida.
Pension Benefits and Divorce in Florida: Marital vs. Non-Marital Property
Pension benefits are divisible in a divorce. Though, an entire pension plan might not be considered a marital asset. In a Florida property division case, the key question is whether a specific asset is marital property or separate property. Any value of a pension earned during the course of the marriage is likely joint property that is subject to division. However, the portion of a pension earned prior to the start of the marriage may still be considered a separate asset. Each spouse gets to retain full possession of their separate, individual property.
Know the Law: Equitable Distribution in Florida
Similar to the majority of U.S. jurisdictions, Florida uses an equitable distribution standard of property division in a divorce. Under Florida Statutes § 61.075, all of the marital property owned by a couple will split in a “fair” manner. Some factors that can be considered by a court include:
- The contributions to marriage and family by each party;
- The length of the marriage; and
- The current and future financial prospects of each partner.
If a pension plan (or other retirement savings) is considered to be a marital asset, then it will be subject to Florida’s equitable property division standard. If you have any specific questions about pension plans or defined benefit plans, an experienced Florida divorce lawyer can help.
You May Need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
Dividing pension benefits can be challenging. Unlike other types of retirement holdings, you may not currently be in a position to access your account. The good is that these types of retirement benefits can still be divided in a divorce. With a specialized type of legal document called a qualified domestic relations order or QDRO, a divorcing couple can split the proceeds of a pension plan in a divorce—including the right to get paid in the future. An experienced Florida high net worth divorce attorney can help you craft a QDRO that meets your specific needs.
Call Our High Net Worth Divorce Lawyers Today
At HVW Law Group, our Florida high net worth divorce attorneys have extensive experience handling complex financial matters, including retirement benefits. If you have any questions about pension benefits and divorce, we are here to help. Call us now or connect with us online to arrange your strictly confidential initial case evaluation. With law offices in Coral Springs and Boca Raton, we provide family and divorce representation all over Southeastern Florida.