Division of Retirement Accounts in a Florida Divorce
How are IRAs, 401(k)s and other retirement accounts divided in a divorce?
Florida is not a community property state and instead follows the rules of equitable distribution. Retirement accounts can often be significant assets of a divorcing couple. In Florida, the court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors, including the ten factors enumerated in Fla. Statute 61.075 (1)(a)-(j). While there can be an unequal distribution, it is done so on a case-by-case basis and it must be justified.
If there is a portion of your retirement account that predates the marriage, that portion is set apart to the owner spouse and not subject to division in the divorce. If that is the case, it is important to gather or maintain any documentation to support the value closest to the date of your marriage. In these cases, it will be important to consider hiring a forensic expert that can determine the present value of that premarital portion.
Whether or not retirement accounts have to be divided will depend on the remainder of the marital estate and distribution of other marital assets and liabilities along with relative tax implications. Ultimately, if there is a need to distribute retirement funds from one spouse to the other, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will be required to accomplish the transfer.
If you have questions about the division of retirement accounts in the event of divorce, please contact the Family Law Division at the Kendrick Law Group.