Divorce and retirement savings

Married couples in Wisconsin who get a divorce are likely to find that the process can be draining emotionally. They should also be prepared for how it will affect them financially. When it comes to finances, the biggest impact may be on retirement savings. This may be an issue if one party did not work during the marriage, and the other party's retirement was meant for both spouses.

Divorcing couples may want to first consider engaging in negotiations regarding retirement savings. If both parties have retirement savings that are almost equal, a simple solution may be to leave retirement savings as they are, retaining their personal accounts. However, if one party has retirement savings that are significantly more than the other party’s, negotiation may be more difficult. In this situation, the party with fewer retirement assets may try to negotiate for a share of the other party's savings.

Retirement savings typically will be the property of the person whose name is on the account. However, that person may be able to legally transfer some of those funds to an ex-spouse by completing a qualified domestic relations order. An ex-spouse has a right to a portion of the retirement funds earned during the marriage. They do not have a right to the retirement funds the other spouse earned before the marriage began. Those funds are not marital property.

A family law attorney may work to protect the rights and interests of clients during divorce disputes. Litigation and negotiation could obtain favorable settlement terms regarding the allocation of retirement savings.

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Gagne McChrystal De Lorenzo & Burghardt
735 North Water Street
Suite 731
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Phone: 414-914-2833
Fax: 414-273-5554
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