When you get a divorce, your retirement plans and accounts are treated like most of your other assets. Part will be yours alone and part you must share with your spouse. The amount of money your spouse gets depends primarily on when you started contributing to your individual retirement account (IRA).
Fortunately, the process of splitting IRAs is simpler than splitting other types of retirement assets, but it’s still important to know the rules.
What part of the IRA is a marital asset?
If you started contributing to your IRA before you got married, that portion is separate property and your spouse has likely has no claim over it. The portion your spouse has a claim in is that which accrued after your marriage date. Therefore, you should subtract the value on the date of your wedding from its current value, and the difference will be subject to the asset division process.
The next question, then, is how much of that remaining portion will actually belong to your spouse. In community property states, the spouse will automatically get half, as both spouses are considered to equally own all assets acquired during the course of the marriage.
Minnesota, however, is an equitable distribution state, one of 41 in the nation. Courts will start with the premise that assets should be split down the middle, but then consider whether doing so would be “fair” and what sort of split would result in a more “fair” arrangement given the other circumstances at play in the divorce, such as a disproportionate income capacity.
This means there is no single formula for determining how much IRA money a spouse gets in a divorce in an equitable distribution state. It entirely depends on the other issues at stake in the divorce.
For further guidance on the property division process in a divorce, especially as it relates to retirement benefits, contact an experienced Minnesota family law attorney with Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.
"Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.
"With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.
"Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.
"I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.
"Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties. Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.
"I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.