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Is your retirement account safe during a divorce?

Many misconceptions still surround how divorce works. Some of those misconceptions concern property division. 

What the law considers to be rightfully yours (and what is not) may surprise you.

How divorce can affect your retirement

Retirement assets are not necessarily safe during property division in a divorce. It may be surprising to learn that your ex-spouse may be able to get a portion or even all of your retirement assets.

The first time this scenario appeared before the Virginia courts was 24 years ago. In a case called Stubblebine v. Stubblebine, one-half of the husband’s retirement assets and pensions were included in the permanent alimony awarded to his ex-wife. This required a retired husband to re-enter the workforce in order to comply with the order.  

Is it too late to seek spousal support?

It is not required that each spouse seek alimony immediately following a divorce if they believe they are entitled to it. In fact, ex-spouses may reserve their right to seek support in the future for the duration of time that is equal to half of the time that a couple was married. For example, if a couple was married for 20 years, spousal support can be ordered as far out as 10 years after the divorce filing. Therefore, a spouse could already be years into their retirement and still be required to pay up.

With this in mind, it can be an exhaustive road to ensure you can ride the waves of your retirement with your hard-earned money. The divorce process can feel overwhelming to try to figure out on your own. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the process.

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