divorce cases, a couple’s most significant marital asset is the retirement plan/s.
According to community property laws in place in Arizona, any part of
the retirement benefits that were earned or accumulated during the time
of the marriage is subject to division upon divorce. Retirement plan division
is treated differently depending on whether the plan in question is sponsored
by a private company or if it’s a federal or state sponsored plan.
If the retirement plan is sponsored by a private company, it is to be divided
by a special order that is called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order
(QDRO). If the retirement plan is sponsored by the federal or state government,
a QDRO is not used. Special orders need to be drafted in order to complete
the division of the retirement plan as a marital asset.
Types of plans that are subject to these orders include: 401(k) plans,
403(b) plans, IRAs, annuities, 457 deferred compensation plans, ESOP plans,
federal government plans (CSRS and FERS), profit sharing plans, and military
retirement plans. The two most common state plans in Arizona are the Arizona
State Retirement System and Arizona Public Safety Personnel Retirement System.
The drafting of the special orders and QDROs is complex. It must be handled
by an experienced attorney familiar with the complexities involved including:
dealing with survivor benefit plans, vested and non-vested benefits, pre-retirement
benefits, loans taken out before and loans taken out after the divorce,
etc. It is extremely important that you share the details of your situation
with an experienced Arizona family law attorney who is prepared to advise
you of your rights in regard to your interest in the retirement plans.
Please get in touch with the experienced lawyers at
Arizona Family Law Attorneys today in order to ascertain what will happen to your
retirement accounts during your divorce.