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Are retirement accounts divided during divorce?

Even though divorce rates are slowly decreasing over time, Americans see a rise in “grey divorce,” or divorce amongst baby boomers or older generations. With the increase of grey divorce, more mature couples consider how divorce affects personal property, especially retirement accounts.

In Maryland, retirement benefits are the most substantial assets couples share, and in the case of divorce, it’s one of the largest holdings for property division. Unfortunately, since the benefits are not physical possessions, it makes the division process more challenging for most partners.

Property division in Maryland

Most retirement benefits fall under the marital property, assets shared by both spouses, and are eligible for the division. In Maryland, all marital property is equitably distributed by courts – this does not necessarily mean an equal way.

The courts ultimately decide how to fairly divide the assets between the spouses that reflects the relationship and the benefits. For example, a court may determine to split a pension equally, or they will allow one spouse a considerable portion of the benefits and the other spouse receives another asset.

It makes the process very detailed and based on the specific value of yours or your partner’s benefits. Luckily, couples do not necessarily need to use the judge to divide their property. They can seek other options such as alternative dispute resolution or meditation to distribute benefits.

The best option for older couples is to have a mature discussion on the current expectations and how to realistically divide the accounts where both you and your former spouse can enjoy retirement.

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