When people divorce, retirement accounts and employee benefits are not the first thing they think of. But in most cases they are one of the top assets in need of division. And these are often assets such as 401(k) plans that were added to over time, making appraisal in division of retirement assets more complex than appraising a car or home.
There are almost innumerable types of retirement funds and employment benefits that must be identified and divided. Not only is it important to identify the plans, it is also important to obtain documentation to allow the accounts to be divided.
Defined contribution plans
Profit sharing plans
Stock bonus plans
Money-purchase pension plans
Cash and deferred salary reduction plans
401(k, 403(b) and 457(b) savings plans
Employee stock options (ESOPs)
Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS)
Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
Defined benefit plans
Joint and survivor annuities
Qualified retirement benefit plans
Target benefit plans
Qualified per-retirement survivor annuity
Qualified joint survivor annuity
Individual savings plans
All these plans have unique features, and some pension plans may be particular to your employer only. Some institutions, such as the federal government, the armed forces, state government and private companies have their own pension and retirement savings systems. Dividing some of these plans, such as the 401(k), poses challenging assessment issues that some attorneys are unwilling to get into.
The most common way to divide these accounts is by entry a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or some type of similar order. Your divorce must address all of the requirements of the individual plan in order to allow you to receive your money timely,
The bottom line in each case is: Work with a lawyer who is experienced in your kind of benefit and savings plans. Florida family law attorney Chris Smed has the experience and the knowledge of case law to guide you safely through the tangle of division.
When your future is at stake, you want to work with the a knowledgeable and skillful retirement division attorney. Contact Christian D. Smed, P.A. in Winter Park, at 407.644.2978 or contact us today
CHRISTIAN D. SMED, P.A. 941 West Morse Boulevard, Suite 100 Winter Park, Florida, 32789