Divorce is a life-changing event that can cause emotional trauma and financial stress. Dividing your retirement account can add an even bigger burden to your anxiety and future plans. You may not already know this, but in Oregon, marital property, including your retirement account, is subject to equitable distribution when a couple decides to divorce. What this means is that each spouse should receive a “fair” share of the property.
At Ronald Johnston Law we understand that finding a fair division of property can be very tricky, especially in the case where retirement accounts are involved. We often meet clients who feel the retirement benefits they have accumulated should be theirs and theirs alone. That said, under the law, retirement and pension benefits earned during the marriage are generally considered marital property, and as such, are subject to the equitable distribution like any other marital asset.
A Hillsboro Oregon family law attorney can help you navigate the intricacies of dividing retirement accounts in a divorce.
Ronald Allen Johnston has been dealing with these types of family law matters for over 40 years and is dedicated to making sure that there is an equitable distribution solution for his clients, including a fair division of retirement accounts.
How do I know what portion of my retirement account is considered marital property?
In most divorce cases, only the retirement benefits earned during the course of the marriage will count as marital property. The benefits acquired prior to the marriage will typically be kept separate and will not be on the table when dividing assets. Ronald Allen Johnston can help you find out which portion of your retirement savings is considered marital property and will assist you in fighting to retain the retirement benefits that qualify as separate, pre-marital property under the law.
How is my retirement plan valued?
The valuation of your retirement plan valuation depends on the type of account you have. If you have a defined contribution plan, like a 401k, the account balance determines the value, though not all of it is considered marital property. If for example, the retirement plan predates the marriage, then the amount subject to equitable division is the increase in value during the course of the marriage. This amount is calculated by simply subtracting the balance of the retirement account when the marriage took place from the new amount on the date the couple separated.
In the case where one party has a defined benefit plan, such as a pension, calculating the value subject to division is more complicated. The reason behind this is that these plans are payable in the future.
When coming up with an accurate valuation, a formula is typically used that considers the following factors:
- Current salary
- Years of employment with the company in question
- Life expectancy of the spouse receiving benefits
During the valuation process, an actuary or pension appraiser will typically be called upon to determine the amounts. This helps to ensure accuracy and fairness on all sides. Your Hillsboro Oregon family law attorney, Ronald Allen Johnston will work tirelessly to make sure that all retirement accounts in question during the divorce process are valued and fairly, so you can retain what you deserve or receive your fair share in the division of assets.
If you are considering divorce, and are concerned about the retirement accounts in your name or in your spouse’s name, contact our office today. We can help you through the process and make sure that all parties receive a fair and just settlement under the law. Knowing where you stand can help lower stress so you may look ahead to brighter days.
Ronald Johnston has been helping clients through the entire divorce process for decades, from the valuation and disclosure of assets to avoid costly mistakes. You won’t regret teaming up with Ronald Johnston Law to ensure you get the divorce settlement you deserve.