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Dividing Pensions in Divorce

Dividing Pensions in a Florida Divorce

Divorce happens at any age, and if you’re older, that could make things more complicated. A pension, which you slowly build either through an investment or your work, can be your biggest asset besides your home. While dividing pension benefits may seem relatively simple and not much different than other marital property, the usual approach does not work when an asset changes value over time, as does with a pension.

At Owenby Law, P.A., we understand how stressful and complex a divorce can be. If either you or your soon-to-be-ex-spouse has a pension, you should consider hiring a family law attorney to help you navigate through this tough process. Property division can be one of the most contentious parts of a divorce, and you need legal support to help you secure a beneficial outcome.

Call us at (904) 770-3141 for a free initial consultation!

How Is a Pension Divided?

In Florida, any property acquired during marriage, including a pension or 401(k) plan, needs to be split equitably between you and your spouse. While there may be a presumption that division of property should be equal, equitable distribution does not always mean a 50/50 split. While a split down the middle is logical for a fixed value asset, such as a bank account or equity in a house, this approach does not exactly work with an asset’s value changes over time, such as with a pension.

Courts look at a pension benefit as a combination of separate property and marital property. A spouse only has a legal claim to pension benefits that accrue during the marriage. Anything before or after the marriage would be considered separate property, unless otherwise specified in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Another common situation that could affect how your pension plan is divided is if a federal plan is involved. If the pension is provided by the federal government, rather than the state, it may not be eligible to be included in a divorce, which would allow one spouse to keep the entire plan and not have to split it.

We are here to protect your best interests. Call us at (904) 770-3141 for a free, 30-minute consultation. 

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