Talking about money can often be one of the most challenging conversations you can have with your spouse, but when going through a divorce, things can get even messier. When it comes to divorce and retirement accounts, pensions, 401(k)s, and IRAs are all valuable assets, and it’s essential to understand how they will be divided.

Since retirement accounts are generally considered marital property, they are subject to division between spouses in a divorce. However, there can be some exceptions to this rule. For example, premarital retirement savings are generally considered separate property and not subject to division.

The specific rules for dividing retirement accounts in divorce vary from state to state. In some states, retirement accounts are divided equally between the spouses. In other states, the court may consider other factors, such as the marriage length, the spouses’ age and health, and each spouse’s contributions to the accounts. 

How Retirement Accounts Are Divided in an Ohio Divorce

When it comes to divorce and retirement accounts in Ohio, equitable division is the standard. What this means for divorcing couples is that the court will divide marital property fairly but not necessarily equally. 

Pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts are generally deemed marital properly – even if they were accumulated prior to the marriage. Speaking with a qualified Ohio divorce attorney will help you understand the exceptions to this rule. As an example, if separate property funds were used to make retirement contributions during the marriage, those are typically considered  separate property and would not be subject to division by the courts. 

When it comes to retirement accounts and divorce, the court will consider a number of factors when dividing assets, including: 

  • The marriage duration. The longer the marriage was between you and your spouse, the more likely the court will divide retirement savings equally. 
  • The age and health of the spouses. If you or your spouse is nearing retirement, that could factor into the court’s decision on dividing savings. 
  • Your contributions. The court may consider your and your spouse’s contributions to your retirement accounts throughout your marriage. If you or your spouse were a stay-at-home parent, that would also factor into this decision. 
  • The needs of each spouse. The court may consider the needs of each spouse when dividing the retirement accounts. Factors such as child custody and income level could be considered. 
  • The total value of the retirement accounts. In Ohio, the courts will determine the value of all retirement accounts before they are divided. While this can be complex and time-consuming, it’s a necessary step in the process. 

Divorce and retirement accounts vary greatly, with diverse types such as pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, and annuities, making the division process complex. If you encounter difficulty agreeing on the distribution of your divorce retirement accounts, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) may be necessary. A QDRO serves as a legal document that directs the plan administrator to divide all retirement assets in a way that satisfies the court-mandated instructions.

If you are navigating a divorce and have retirement accounts, it is crucial to consult with a seasoned divorce attorney. An attorney specializing in divorce and retirement accounts can provide valuable insights into the division process, clarify your legal rights, and explore the available options. Additionally, should the need arise, they can offer representation in court to ensure your interests are protected.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Ohio Divorce Lawyer 

At the Law Offices of Kenneth R. Kline LLC, we recognize the intricate financial aspects you’re dealing with during a divorce, including the distribution of your hard-earned retirement assets. Our team is dedicated to guiding you through this process and ensuring a fair resolution. Contact us today for a risk-free consultation.

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