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Dividing Retirement Benefits Is An Important Step In The Divorce Process

In a New Jersey divorce, the judge will review all assets owned by the couple to determine the correct division of property. This includes retirement benefits. Retirement accounts can be subject to division during divorce, even if the account technically belongs to just one spouse.

Dividing retirement benefits requires skill and experience as well as a thorough knowledge of the law. I am Robin Jill Schneider, a New Jersey Supreme Court-certified matrimonial law attorney with over 40 years of experience. I can guide you through the process and explain each step while protecting your interests.

Equitable Distribution Of Retirement Benefits

Just like the division of other property in a New Jersey divorce, the courts take an equitable distribution approach to retirement benefits. That means that part of the account may be exempt if you earned it before the marriage. The court will treat the portion earned during the marriage as marital property. However, according to New Jersey law, the marriage presumptively ends when one of you files your complaint for divorce.

If your spouse has few or no retirement assets of their own because they stayed home to take care of children, the court may award them a large share of your retirement assets.

Understanding A QDRO

In order to divide retirement benefits, you need a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). A QDRO is a court order that will establish how much of a retirement account is owed to a former spouse and how it will be distributed. It also provides provisions for what happens if a former spouse remarries. Courts require a QDRO with 401(k) plans or pensions. While 401(k) plans can be relatively straightforward, pensions tend to be much more complicated. Often, the couple completes the QDRO after the court finalizes the divorce. You will want an experienced lawyer to draft your QDRO.

Rely On My Experience

I can help you understand New Jersey law regarding property division. Contact my firm, the Robin Jill Schneider law firm, or call 732-812-4944 for your free consultation. At my Matawan firm, I represent clients in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties.