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Who gets the retirement assets when wealthy spouses divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2021 | Divorce

Being wealthy puts you in an interesting position during a divorce. You may be trying to preserve as many of your assets as you can while making sure that you can live comfortably in the future.

Depending on your specific circumstances, you may not have a career or the support to maintain your lifestyle in the future. You might ask for spousal support. You might ask for less support and a larger portion of your martial assets to help you provide for your own needs. What you do with the retirement assets that have been saved will depend on whose name they are in, their value and how you both agree to divide them.

The division of your retirement assets should be equitable

In Virginia, the state sees marriage as a partnership that is not always equal. As a result, it has equitable distribution laws that allow you and your spouse to divide your assets in a fair way, even if that isn’t 50-50.

Deciding on how your retirement assets are going to be distributed is a part of the property division process. There are a few options that you and your spouse can consider, such as:

  • Dividing the retirement accounts 50-50
  • Buying out your spouse’s share of the retirement and taking the full account
  • Keeping your own respective accounts
  • Allowing your spouse to buy you out of your share of a single retirement account

For someone who hasn’t worked but who is in a wealthy marriage, you may not have sufficient retirement savings in your own name, so it makes sense to ask for a portion of the other spouse’s retirement account. If you need liquid assets following your divorce, you might accept cash out of another asset in exchange for your share of the retirement account. What you decide will depend on your specific circumstances and how you and your spouse decide to divide your assets.

If you can’t decide, the court will

If you and your spouse cannot make a decision on how to divide your retirement assets, then you may end up in court. If so, the judge will determine if the retirement account should be split and in what way. This is something to keep in mind as you work on negotiating the divorce settlement.