What to do with your retirement account during a divorce

What to do with your retirement account during a divorce

On Behalf of | May 25, 2021 | High-Asset Divorce, Property And Debt Division, Retirement Accounts |

Florida couples going through a divorce will likely have to deal with splitting up their retirement accounts. With many different types of retirement accounts out there like IRAs and 401(k)s, it can be confusing to try to figure out how this is done. However, it’s important that you take the time to learn so that you can ensure your retirement account is split correctly according to the laws in your state.

Pensions and 401(k)

Some of the most common types of retirement accounts are pensions and 401(k)s. In order to split these types of retirement accounts during your high-net-worth divorce, you’ll need to apply for a qualified domestic relations order. Known as a QDRO for short, this order is submitted to the retirement account administrator to handle the splitting of the account.


Splitting an IRA account is different from splitting a pension or 401(k) plan. With an IRA, you’ll need to apply for a transfer incident to divorce. This form should be submitted to your IRA account administrator in order to initiate the splitting of the account. IRAs are a bit different due to the fact that withdrawals may be taxed because the contributions were made pre-tax.

Proposing alternatives

Just because your spouse may be entitled to half of your retirement doesn’t mean you have to settle on that particular asset. Rather, you may offer an alternative to splitting up your retirement account. One common alternative is simply giving your spouse full ownership of another marital asset that is of equal value to their stake in your retirement.

When it comes to dealing with your retirement accounts during the divorce process, you’ll need to have the right forms submitted to ensure that the split is done correctly. It’s always prudent to contact an attorney to ensure that you’re handling asset division according to state law.