What will happen to my retirement plan in my divorce?

Your divorce will change your future — the immediate future and the rest of your life. Not only will your living arrangements and finances be different during and right after the divorce process, but your plans for your retirement may have to change too.

During your marriage, you and your ex saved and planned for retirement. Now that you are splitting up, the two of you must split up the retirement funds. In California, that usually means setting up a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

What is a QDRO?

A QDRO is a special type of court order that dictates how funds from a privately held retirement plan. The equivalent for a retirement account based on working for the state or federal government is called a Domestic Relations Order (DRO). Once the divorce judge approves the QDRO, it is served to the business or organization that manages the retirement account so that it is aware of the change.

Because California is a community property state, divorcing spouses generally must split the retirement evenly — at least, the money you and/or your ex contributed or acquired during the marriage. However, you and your spouse can agree to a different arrangement if you choose.

Helping you prepare for your new retirement goals

Preparing a QDRO is complicated, but your divorce attorney can take care of it for you. Your retirement may not be what you had planned while you were married. But that does not mean you will have to start over saving for your golden years. With a satisfactory property division, you can start off your post-marriage life on a solid financial footing.

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