In any Florida divorce, property distribution is often one of the most significant issues that a couple must negotiate before the divorce can be finalized. In many cases, some of the biggest assets to divide are pensions and other retirement accounts. But is it possible for one spouse to keep their pension in a divorce? In some situations, the answer is yes. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg in Boca Raton today to schedule a consultation.
Equitable Distribution of Property
Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that all marital property must be divided equitably, but not necessarily equally, between spouses. Marital property is all property acquired during the course of the marriage, whereas separate property is acquired by each spouse before the marriage. In the case of pensions, any value accumulated prior to the marriage may be considered separate property of that spouse, but all value added to the pension during the marriage is considered marital property.
Equity in Pension Accounts
The easiest situation is when both spouses have their own pensions, with each being of roughly equal value. There is no need for one spouse to go after the value of the other spouse’s pension, and so long as the value is equitable the couple can continue dividing other assets in the marital estate. However, if this is not the case there still may be options available for one spouse to keep their pension after a divorce.
Bargaining with Other Assets
If only one spouse has a pension in the divorce or if the pension accounts are of significantly different values, the spouse who wishes to keep their pension may be able to do so by bargaining away other assets in the marital estate. However, if the value of the pension is substantial, that spouse may be forced to bargain away the majority of their other marital assets. This could include giving the other spouse real estate, such as the marital home or vacation properties, as well as personal property like vehicles, art, collectibles, jewelry, furniture, and more.
Assigning Survivorship Benefits
One final option to retain a pension in a Florida divorce is to assign survivorship benefits to the other spouse. This option only works if the other spouse is willing to wait to receive the benefits from the pension account. The holder of the pension fund is able to fully utilize the funds of their account during their lifetime, and upon that person’s death the remainder of the pension along with any residual benefits are transferred via survivorship benefits to the former spouse.
Talk to the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg Now
If you have more questions about keeping your pension or any other issue in a Florida divorce, the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg are here to help. Contact our skilled Boca Raton family attorneys to schedule a case evaluation.