A Firm Advocate For Florida Families

Do you lose access to your ex’s pension?

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2023 | Divorce

Pension plans aren’t very common anymore, so you may have been very happy if your spouse was earning one. You didn’t have to worry about retirement because you knew that you could both retire and just live off of the pension. It gave you future financial security.

Now, however, your spouse has said that they would like to get a divorce. It’s growing close to time for both of you to retire, and you’re worried that you’re suddenly going to lose access to that account. You don’t have your own retirement savings because you were counting on that pension. Do you really lose that when you get divorced?

A Qualified domestic relations order

No, a divorce does not necessarily mean that your spouse gets the entire pension. They may believe that they do since they earned it or because it is not being paid out yet – so it is not yet an asset that they possess – but there are steps you can take.

One of the best things to do is to look into using a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This is a court-issued order that can specify the percentage of the pension plan that should go to you and the percentage that should go to your ex. You can then divide this future asset during property division, even though your ex isn’t getting paid yet. When they eventually do retire, a percentage of the payments go to you. 

That does not mean that you have to split the pension perfectly in half. The court will often consider your financial situation, how long the two of you were married, the reasons for the divorce, how long your spouse was employed and earning that pension, and many other factors. But this is certainly an option that you can look into, and it helps to show why it’s so important to consider what legal steps you can take to protect your future during a divorce.