Retirement benefits such as 401(k) accounts, IRA accounts, pensions and Arizona state retirement system (ASRA) benefits are community property, to the extent these benefits are accumulated during the marriage. As such, they are subject to division in the event of divorce.
At the law firm of Singer Pistiner, P.C., in Scottsdale, Arizona, our divorce attorneys help our clients value retirement assets and divide them fairly. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Dividing Retirement Benefits in Arizona
Retirement assets often include a blend of separate and community property. For example, if you worked for your employer for 20 years and were married during 15 of those years, approximately three-quarters of your retirement benefits would be community property.
There are many different ways retirement assets can be divided:
- A special court document known as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) can be used to direct the plan administrator on how to divide the assets at the time of distribution.
- You can offset other assets for the community interest in retirement accounts. For example, the non-participant spouse can be awarded an unequal amount of equity in a home to offset for the value that the spouse would have been entitled to in the participant spouse’s retirement account. Then the participant spouse can simply retain the retirement account, eliminating the need to expend additional fees on documents such as QDROs.
- You may be able to cash out the account and divide the assets, paying applicable taxes and penalties.
Expert assistance is needed to value retirement accounts. When trading assets, it’s important to compare the present value of the retirement account with the present value of the other assets. Retirement assets may be worth less since you cannot access the money until you reach retirement age.
Family Law Attorneys Serving Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler and Mesa
If you’d like to know more about retirement accounts and divorce, please feel free to call 602-264-0110 or send us an e-mail to schedule a free initial consultation. From our office on Camelback Road, we represent clients throughout the Scottsdale metropolitan area in Arizona.