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Tampa Retirement & Pension Division Attorney

If you are planning on a divorce in Tampa, it is critical to understand that your retirement accounts and pensions will likely be divisible as part of your divorce case. To be sure, under Florida law, nearly all assets acquired after the date of marriage will be divisible in a divorce, and those assets typically include pensions and retirement benefits. Accordingly, it will be important to ensure that your retirement benefits and pensions are accurately classified as either marital or nonmarital property, and to learn more about how these specific types of assets are divided in a Florida divorce. Contact our experienced Tampa retirement & pension division attorney today to discuss your retirement and pension as part of your divorce case.

How Are Retirements and Pensions Divided in Tampa?

Retirements and pensions are divided in a Tampa divorce like other marital assets: according to the rule of equitable distribution. Under Florida law, all assets in a divorce case must first be classified as marital property or nonmarital (i.e., separate) property. Only marital property is divided in a divorce. Generally speaking, all assets and debts acquired after the date of the marriage are going to be classified as marital property unless an exception applies. When it comes to retirement benefits and pensions, the only possible exception is that these assets have been expressly excluded from division through an enforceable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Otherwise, if retirement benefits or pensions were earned after the date of marriage, they will likely be classified as marital property.

For some couples, certain retirement benefits and pensions were earned both prior to and after the date of marriage. For example, one of the spouses might have been at the same job for years both prior to and following the marriage. In such situations, the court will usually determine which portion of the assets should be classified as separate property and which should be classified as marital property and subject to division.

According to equitable distribution, any retirement benefits or pensions will be divided equitably between the spouses. It is important to know that “equitable” means fair and does not necessarily mean equal. In some cases, an equitable distribution will be a 50/50 or equal split, but an equitable distribution does not always mean that assets are divided in half or equally between the spouses.

Understanding the Role of QDROs in Tampa Retirement and Pension Divisions

The actual distribution of retirement benefits and pensions can be complicated due to the rules concerning early withdrawals and penalties. If you take assets out of a retirement account prior to the date of retirement, you will incur a 10 percent penalty. In order to avoid this penalty in a divorce division, the parties will usually rely on a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to distribute the benefits without the penalty attaching.

If retirement benefits are removed from one spouse’s account and deposited into the other spouse’s retirement account, no taxes will need to be paid at the time of distribution. However, if the assets are withdrawn from a retirement account and distributed to the spouse outside a retirement account, the receiving spouse will be responsible for taxes on the amount.

Contact The Law Office of Laura A. Olson, P.A. Today

You should seek help from a lawyer with any questions concerning QDROs and the division of retirement benefits and pensions. Contact our experienced Tampa retirement and pension division attorney today for assistance with your case.

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