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Divorce and Retirement Accounts

You work hard throughout your career with an end goal of retiring comfortably. To this end, you carefully weigh retirement plans, negotiate retirement benefits, and carefully put your money into instruments that meet your desired combination of risk, return, and tax benefits. A divorce can throw your financial plans for a loop and it is critical to consult with an experienced family lawyer to protect your future.

Retirement Plans and Community Property

Property in Nevada is divided according to “community property” laws, which gives each spouse an equal right to all property and debt acquired during a couple’s marriage. In contrast, all property that was acquired before the marriage is each spouse’s separate property and is not divided.

Retirement funds earned during a marriage are considered marital assets, including pension accounts, 401(k)’s, Roth IRA’s, etc. Therefore, the extent to which these accounts were earned and funded during a marriage is subject to division by community property upon a couple’s divorce.

Because retirement funds are amongst the most valuable properties that a couple owns, they can become a high-conflict issue. Valuing and separating retirement accounts as marital versus separate property is a complex process, and can require retaining experts for assistance.

While retirement funds earned and acquired during a marriage are subject to division, parties can always reach agreements that leave retirement accounts untouched, while the other spouse is compensated with other marital or separate property. In other words, a spouse can essentially buy another spouse’s interest in his or her retirement accounts using other properties. This is not uncommon can be a desirable outcome for both parties.

An Order May be Necessary to Effectuate a Division of Retirement

If parties choose to proceed with the division of retirement accounts, they may be required to obtain a proper court order. For example, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a specific order that mandates a retirement plan’s administrator to divide benefits between multiple beneficiaries, and the exact amount and manner in which each should be paid. This is a required order for some retirement accounts to effectuate an agreement or court order regarding the division of the account.

Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. Will Fight for You

Your retirement has significance to you beyond its monetary value. At Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P., we understand that your retirement is the culmination of your career’s work and the true measure of your financial security. We take our responsibilities very seriously and our attorneys will fight to protect your financial interests when you divorce. With over a hundred years of combined legal experience, our attorneys pool our skills and knowledge to provide unparalleled advocacy for our clients. Let us assist you. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.

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