Per Florida Statute, any benefits, rights, and/or funds accrued during the marriage in retirement and pension plans are considered marital property subject to equitable distribution. Retirement and pension plan benefits are treated as marital property because they are considered a contractual right received during marriage in lieu of higher compensation, which would have otherwise increased the value of the marital property or the parties’ standard of living.
It is important to note that the entire value of a particular retirement plan or pension is not necessarily considered marital property that is subject to division. Instead, only that amount of the plan that was earned or built up during the course of the marriage is subject to division. In other words, Florida Courts divide retirement accounts in half based on the accumulated value during the duration of the marriage.
Division of retirement benefits also requires the preparation of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. This order establishes the former spouse’s legal right to receive benefits of a qualifying retirement plan. There can be significant tax consequences if a QDRO is not prepared or is prepared incorrectly; and therefore, it is highly recommended that you speak with a professional.
The legal process can get difficult, which is why we always recommend that you seek the assistance of counsel; or at least have a consultation. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation.
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