Division Of Retirement Assets

Both Spouses Own The Investment Portfolio

Retirement savings often represent the largest share of a couple's marital estate. In divorce, these assets become a lightning rod for conflict, especially if a high-earning spouse feels the other does not deserve to share the fruits of his or her lifelong labors.

Under Michigan's equitable distribution law, retirement assets accumulated during marriage are to be divided, no matter who earned the paychecks. However, these assets are not necessarily split 50-50, and there are many complex calculations and considerations.

The Brighton divorce lawyers of the Law Offices of Harris & Literski are highly knowledgeable about dividing retirement assets, from defined benefit plans to individual investments. We aim to clarify disputes over retirement funds to streamline the broader property settlement.

QDROs, Pensions And Other "Nest Egg" Assets

Our attorneys represent many high net worth clients who have accumulated substantial retirement portfolios, ranging from corporate executives and entrepreneurs to auto workers, military officers and government employees. We are familiar with the legal issues and tax considerations relating to different types of retirement assets such as:

  • Private pensions
  • Military and government pensions
  • Stock options and deferred compensation
  • 401(k), IRA and other qualified plans
  • Stocks, bonds and mutual funds
  • Trust funds, gifts and inherited money

In general, investments and contributions prior to marriage are the property of the individual and subsequent contributions are marital property. But what about accrued interest or increase in the value of securities over time? What about present value versus future value?

Our attorneys work with outside experts to address these issues in a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). The QDRO assigns each spouse a proportional share of the retirement portfolio, which in turn can be traded for other considerations in other marital assets. Our experts can also divide military pensions and other assets not assignable in a QDRO.

Secure Your Fair Share

The court does not consider whose name is on the account or which spouse earned more money. The money is presumed to belong to the couple, but the actual math is not so simple because of other variables. Our attorneys can knowledgeably assert your interests in the division of retirement assets. Contact Harris & Literski to arrange a free consultation.