When a couple get divorced in Georgia, their marital property is subject to equitable division. This does not always mean an equal division, however, local courts strive to create a fair division of property. All property obtained during a marriage is considered marital. Otherwise, assets acquired before marriage or via gift or inheritance would be considered separately owned and would not be subject to division upon divorce.

Dividing retirement accounts in Alpharetta can be complicated and often requires the skill of an experienced attorney. Let a member of our legal team guide you through the asset division process and seek the most favorable outcome in your case.

How Does State Divorce Law Treat Retirement Accounts?

Under Georgia law, monetary contributions to a retirement account by a spouse and their employer may constitute marital property. The earning spouse can claim any pre-marital balance as separate, but the marital portion will be subject to equitable division. Retirement accounts are often among the largest assets a married couple has, which can cause a significant amount of conflict during a divorce case.

Dividing Retirement Accounts between Divorcing Spouses

Divorcing spouses will need to determine whether an IRA is marital property or separate property before it can be divided between them. In most cases, the assets in a retirement account are considered marital as long as the earning party deposited those funds during the course of their marriage. However, the balance from before the marriage will belong to the earning spouse alone.

Retirement accounts and benefits that may be subject to equitable division include:

  • 403(b)
  • 401(k)
  • p457
  • Permanent life insurance
  • IRAs (traditional or Roth with after-tax contributions)
  • Annuity

A court may award one spouse with their entire retirement account if other funds are available for the other party. In many cases, judges choose not to split retirement accounts, as this can be a complicated way to divide assets. However, if no additional funds exist to make the distribution equitable, the court will likely order the division of a retirement account. An Alpharetta lawyer who understands property division can help anyone looking to protect their retirement assets during divorce.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders

Qualified domestic relations orders, or “QDROs,” are orders to shift the ownership of retirement funds into another person’s name. State law requires that the parties draft a QDRO when the court divides benefit plans, pensions, and retirement accounts in a divorce case. A local lawyer can help the parties understand the process of dividing a retirement account upon divorce.

Ask an Alpharetta Attorney for Assistance with Dividing Retirement Accounts

Dividing retirement accounts in Alpharetta can be overwhelming and inherently complex. For this reason, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible if you are contemplating filing for divorce and are uncertain about whether a retirement account may be subject to division. Reach out to a skilled attorney at our firm today to learn more about your legal options. Do not wait to seek the seasoned representation you deserve.

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