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What You Need to Know About Dividing Retirement Plans After a Divorce


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As you're going through your divorce, you will be dividing your property and assets with your spouse. The things you've accumulated during your marriage, such as your home, your vehicles, savings accounts and more will all need to be divided. One thing that many people don't stop to think about is their retirement plans. This will need to be divided as well, in order to be fair. This article discusses what you need to know about dividing retirement plans after a divorce.

Determine What Type of Retirement Plan You Have -

There are many different types of retirement funds, including the most popular - IRAs. Why is it important to determine the type of plan you have? Attorneys and the courts will use a certain terminology to describe the division of the retirement plan. In order to ensure that the right terminology is used and therefore the documents are binding and legal, they must first know exactly what type of retirement plan you hold. This will ensure that the retirement plan is thoroughly divided and that everything is on the up and up.

Checking with the Financial Institution Which Holds the Retirement Plan Policy -

This is also important. Different institutions will require the policies to be divided in different ways. For instance, for some documents dividing retirement policies, the retirement account number as well as the custodian's full name must be included. For others, there may be different requirements. Check with the institution your policy is held by and make sure you know exactly what must be included in the divorce documents in order for the policy to be legally and appropriately divided.

Ensure That All Details Are Covered -

Another thing you want to do is make sure that all the details are covered as far as the policy goes. How will it be divided? Will it be split down the middle or will there be a percentage division? Map out exactly how the retirement plan will be divided so that there are no questions down the line. Your attorney can help you with the proper wording or drafting up the documents, but you need to be certain that the documents are correct and that they are clear and concise when it comes to dividing the assets. There is a danger that if the documents are not worded correctly and are determined as not legally binding, you could lose all ownership to the retirement plan. This is definitely not a good situation so do your due diligence.

If you can't agree with your spouse on how the retirement plan should be divided, the judge will decide for you, based on your situation and needs. It's usually a better idea to decide for yourselves how the plan will be divided. While many couples are able to do this, some are hostile and bitter to the point that they are unable to agree on anything. It depends on your situation, but if at all possible, determine with your spouse the percentages you will receive. By knowing this information, you can ensure that the retirement policy is divided accurately and fairly.

Danielle L. Taylor is an author for - one of the most active divorce support communities in the Internet. If you want to learn more about divorce, child support, dating or just want to tell your divorce story and get support from understanding members of the community go to


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