Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

Joliet Office


Plainfield Office


Will County QDRO Lawyer

Will County Divorce QDRO Lawyer

Divorce Attorney Serving Joliet and Plainfield Explains Division of Retirement Benefits

You might assume that a retirement savings account or pension benefit acquired through your employer would remain your sole and separate property in a divorce. Likewise, you might assume that an IRA funded with your own earnings and held in your name alone would be your separate, non-marital property.

In fact, under Illinois divorce law (750 ILCS 5), any retirement benefits earned by either spouse during your marriage become part of your marital estate, to be divided in just proportions between you and your spouse.

Note, however, that "just proportions" does not mean 50/50. Illinois law lists a dozen factors to consider when determining what share of the marital estate should go to each spouse. In addition, each individual asset does not have to be split, just the estate in total.

At the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., we understand that you may be deeply concerned about your financial security in retirement. Therefore, we will work with you to document the exact portion of your and your spouse's retirement assets that were acquired prior to marriage versus the portion acquired during your marriage. The portion acquired during your marriage is subject to division.

There are many ways to structure a divorce settlement to secure your financial future. For example, if one of your primary goals is to protect your pension benefits, it may be possible to award other assets of equivalent value to your spouse. With our decades of experience in divorce law, you can rely on us to negotiate a divorce settlement that best serves your unique needs and goals.

The Legal Process for Dividing Retirement Assets

The attorneys of Tedone & Morton will make sure that your divorce judgment clearly specifies the percentage of each retirement asset to be transferred from one spouse to the other. We will work with you to complete all divorce-related asset transfers as soon as possible after receiving the final court judgment.

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, is necessary to divide a pension plan benefit, also known as a defined-benefit plan. A QDRO is also necessary to divide a 401k or similar defined-contribution retirement account held in an employer-sponsored program.

Dividing a 401k or similar: For a defined-contribution retirement plan, your attorney should draft the QDRO, get it approved by the court, and submit it to the administrator of the retirement plan. The recipient spouse can then arrange to have their share of the funds transferred to their own IRA.

Dividing a pension: For a defined-benefit plan, the QDRO should be submitted to the plan administrator as soon as possible after your divorce, but nothing will happen until the owner-spouse retires. Upon their retirement, each spouse will receive their specified share of the monthly pension payment. For example, if the owner-spouse is entitled to receive a monthly pension benefit of $3,000 and the QDRO specifies that their ex-spouse is to receive 10% of the pension benefit, the owner-spouse will receive $2,700 per month and the ex-spouse will receive $300 per month directly from the pension plan administrator.

Dividing an IRA held by the individual: No QDRO is required. The owner-spouse can just tell their investment advisor to transfer funds from their IRA to a separate IRA account under the other spouse's name, providing a copy of the divorce decree as needed. When such a transfer is required by your divorce settlement, the transaction is treated the same as a rollover, so there are no tax consequences.

Social Security retirement benefits: No QDRO is required. If you were married at least 10 years and are unmarried when you are ready to collect Social Security, you have two options and can choose whichever payment is larger. Option one is to claim benefits based on your own work record. Option two is to claim benefits based on your ex-spouse's work record; your benefit would be equal to half of your ex-spouse's benefit, and your claim does not affect the amount your ex-spouse receives.

Divorce Lawyer Serving Morris and Yorkville Handles Division of Pensions, IRAs, and 401k Accounts

When one spouse has earned a pension or accumulated in a 401k or IRA during the marriage, the equitable division of property usually requires the division of these retirement benefits. For a confidential consultation about your divorce, contact the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. at 815-666-1285. From our two convenient offices in Joliet and Plainfield, Illinois, we serve clients in Will County, Grundy County, Kendall County, Yorkville, Morris, and surrounding areas.

  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
Back to Top