Division of Retirement Plans in a Florida Divorce

Dividing marital assets can be complicated and confusing, especially when it comes to the division of retirement plans in a Florida divorce. Generally, retirement plans that are accumulated during the marriage are to be considered “marital property” or property of both parties. However, many times a retirement account is started prior to the marriage and may contain significant funds. This portion of the account would be considered the “non-marital” property of the party who earned.  Non-marital property is not divided the parties, instead retained by the owner.  It is therefore extremely important to properly calculate the non-marital portion of any retirement account.  To make it even more complicated, retirement accounts generally include contributions and “passive income”.  Passive income is the increased value pursuant to the market and may or may not be considered marital property.

Florida is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that the courts are required to justly and fairly divide marital property. However, this does not mean that there will be an equal division of property at the time of divorce.  The Court must look at all the marital property to be divided and consider various factors to determine a fair division of the property.  Moreover, during settlement, the parties may choose to divide things a certain way to keep major assets together.  Therefore, not all retirement accounts must be divided and an appropriate equitable distribution scheme may allow the working spouse to protect the account they have worked hard to build.

That beings, retirement accounts can be divided when it is necessary.  The division of retirement plans in a Florida divorce is generally done through the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO. However, QDRO’s can be very complicated as they have to comply with Florida law as well as the retirement plan’s internal rules.  There are many plans out there and they all use different rules – it can be confusing.  Experience matters when dealing with QDRO’s and other issues related to retirement accounts.

Contact Attorney Adam Bragg

There are many nuances involved in the division of retirement plans in a Florida divorce. The Bragg Law Firm has experience handling the equitable division of retirement benefits. Attorney Adam Bragg can help you understand how the laws apply to the types of retirement plans involved in your divorce. Call (941) 893-1555 to set up an appointment to discuss your questions today.