In a divorce, all marital assets and property are subject to division, including retirement accounts. In fact, retirement accounts are some of the most valuable assets individuals own. If you are in the midst of going through a divorce, you need to know the details of how this process is carried out to be better prepared to handle it. Read on to learn more about how retirement accounts are divided in a Florida divorce.
Dividing a Retirement Account
No two divorce cases are alike and, as such, how a retirement account is specifically divided will ultimately depend on the circumstances of your own case. However, there are some general rules. In the state of Florida, the marital assets of a divorcing couple are divided in a manner that is deemed fair. If both spouses own an equally valued retirement account, there might not be much of a dispute over this issue. In cases where one spouse might have a particularly large retirement account, this could become a more contentious issue. If you leave the division of this asset up to the courts, you might not receive a decision that is to your liking, so you might want to consider options like collaborative divorce or mediation.
If Your Account Was Acquired Before Marriage
According to Florida law, any asset acquired prior to the marriage is considered separate property and, therefore, those assets are not subject to equitable distribution. Retirement accounts are no different. The catch here is that you likely continued to add funds to any retirement accounts you might have throughout the marriage, which means funds added to the account during the marriage might end up on the chopping block.
Protecting Yourself From Tax Penalties
When dividing a retirement account, the process must be handled properly to avoid being hit with tax penalties. Divorces are already stressful and financially difficult enough, so it is crucial to do what you can to minimize the burden. Do not just cash out on your retirement account to settle your obligation. If you do end up needing to take money out for this purpose, it can be done through a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), which can help protect you from withdrawal penalties. Consult your attorney to fully understand what legal options are best for you.
Experienced Gainesville Divorce Attorneys
Divorce is an overwhelming situation for spouses to find themselves in. The future often seems uncertain and you are likely in need of legal support to help make sense of the situation. At the Swanson Law Center, P.A., our trusted Gainesville divorce attorneys are committed to providing the trusted legal support you need and deserve to help you maintain control over the outcome of your divorce.
Call our office today at (352) 480-0088 to schedule a consultation.