Most people work hard for a living in order to provide for themselves and their families now and to have a nest egg for use during retirement. You may have consciously and meticulously ensured that the funds in your various accounts stayed at certain levels and that your retirement funds and pension were right on track. However, you may now face major concerns about your pension due to your pending divorce.
Having financial worries related to divorce is understandable, as this life change can easily result in a tremendous upheaval to savings, retirement accounts and other financial areas. If you have concerns about how ending your marriage will affect your pension, you may want to remember that you could have options for protecting those funds.
If you started earning your pension after you married, the court will likely consider the funds marital property. As a result, your pension could face division. However, in most cases, the division of a pension account does not automatically take place. Instead, if your spouse wanted a portion of those funds, he or she would have to make a request for the account's division.
If your soon-to-be ex makes the request and the applicable parties approve the request, your spouse could deserve half of those funds. However, you may want to review the terms of your pension to determine how they may dictate such division.
Protecting your pension
Because the division of a pension is not automatic, you may have the ability to prevent your spouse from even making a request for division. Because New York is an equitable division state, property division outcomes will reflect the fairest distribution, which does not necessarily mean 50-50. Therefore, if you want to keep the entirety of your pension, you may want to offer a different asset that would keep the division fair while also leaving the pension to you.
Understandably, you may feel that trying to protect your pension during divorce is complicated, and it certainly can be. State laws, marital details, willingness to negotiate and other factors could all play roles in whether the court divides your pension. Fortunately, you can obtain professional legal help through an attorney who could explain your options for keeping your pension and assist you in addressing any other property division concerns you may have as your case proceeds.