What You Should Know About Divorce & Retirement Accounts

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As we’ve worked our way through financial literacy month and how to become more financially prepared and aware when it comes to divorce, we decided to focus on one final aspect: retirement accounts.

How often do you really think about your retirement account? Maybe when you notice your contribution — or your employer’s contribution — to it each month. Or perhaps when filing taxes and you see if you’ve actually saved a decent amount toward your retirement throughout the year. Other than that, though, your retirement account probably isn’t something that comes to mind often since it’s not right there with your checking and savings accounts.

Because of this, it may come as a surprise to you that it even needs to be addressed in the event of divorce. It can feel like something that is uniquely yours, so why does your divorce lawyer even bring it up? We’re going to answer this today. If you need divorce help in Atlanta, you can rely on The Fairell Firm. Our blogs are full of useful divorce help, but none of it is specific to your situation. Instead, schedule a consultation today to meet with our local divorce attorneys in Atlanta.

Today’s post was inspired by a reader’s question:

I have a substantial retirement account established. My wife has never worked or done anything to contribute to my retirement savings. Will I be able to keep all of my money if I divorce her? Jermaine Q.

Retirement Accounts Are Subject To Division

Even though you earned the money, the money earned is considered marital property and is subject to division. Just as other savings and earnings are subject to division, so are retirement accounts. In fact, if your partner either hasn’t worked or hasn’t established their own retirement account, then it is very likely that the divorce court will grant them a portion of yours.

Division Is Not Always 50/50

It’s also important to note that division of a retirement account is not always 50/50. Instead, Georgia divorce courts separate retirement accounts equitably, whatever that could mean for your case. So instead of 50/50, you could expect 90/10, 60/40, etc.

Reasons Why Retirement Accounts May Be Divided

If this doesn’t seem fair to you — after all, you worked and earned toward your retirement — then let’s look at some of the logic behind this:

  • Many partners don’t contribute to their own retirement plan because their partner does. Let’s say you both work, but your partner gets a better match from their company. Instead of you both contributing to different accounts, you may choose for your partner to contribute more while you contribute nothing.
  • Some families choose to have one parent stay at home once they have children. This prevents the stay-at-home parent from earning an income and contributing to a retirement account, but they shouldn’t be penalized later in the event of a divorce.
  • Even though you never see your retirement money, it is nonetheless income you earned. So, just like any other income, it should be subject to division.

Get Divorce Help In Atlanta Today

You want local divorce attorneys who fully understand the divorce process, divorce settlements, and nuanced factors of finances in divorce. Our divorce firm offers this to you. We’re located in Tucker, and we offer divorce help to clients throughout Atlanta. It’s important that you find the best divorce lawyer for you, so schedule a consultation with us to see if our female divorce lawyers are who you’re looking for. Visit The Fairell Firm today for divorce help!


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