Terzich & Ort, LLP
Make Your Consultation Appointment Today.
View Our Practice Areas

Retirement benefits require special consideration in a divorce

Minnesota residents may have invested in insurance policies and other retirement plans to ensure that enough money is available when they retire or if they become unable to work. However, property division during a divorce may affect well-laid retirement plans.

Pensions and 401(k) plans are complicated to divide when compared to IRAs. The former plans require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order for division, whereas a copy of the divorce agreement is the only document required for an IRA split. In case of death of a spouse, the beneficiary listed on the accounts will be entitled to the assets unless a QRDO stipulates otherwise. Spouses can also decide on dividing certain employer retirement plans. If a spouse does not want a share ERISA benefits, a notarized signature waiving beneficiary rights may be helpful.

Along with retirement plans, all marital property may be subjected to division. The number of years the couple was married, the earning capability of each spouse, minor children and growth potential of assets may be taken into consideration when dividing property. Sometimes the division of property may not be equal, with outcomes such as one spouse getting the house and the other getting all retirement plans.

In certain cases, the divorce decree may require that the ex-spouse is mentioned as an insurance policy beneficiary. When there is no such requirement, the policy owner can replace the beneficiary. Sometimes, the policy owner may forget to change the beneficiary post-divorce, and the ex-spouse may continue to receive a benefit even after the divorce. A person should be very careful while working on policies and the divorce agreement to ensure that the intended beneficiary gets the benefits from the insurance policies as wanted by the owner.

Source: Mainstreet.com, "How Divorce Impacts Beneficiary Status of IRAs, 401(k)s and Insurance," Juliette Fairley, July 30, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Super Lawyers
  • The National Top 40 Under 40 Trial Lawyers
  • Minnesota's Best Lawyers 2016
  • Top 50 Woman Attorneys In Minnesota 2016
  • Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Family
Email us for A response

How Can We Help You?

Use our Dissolution strategy worksheet to prepare for your first meeting.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

11284 86th Ave
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Phone: 763-391-7354
Fax: 763-391-7589
Maple Grove Law Office Map