Under Washington law, both spouses have a community interest in retirement accounts accrued during marriage. This is true even if one spouse did not contribute through payroll deductions or work outside the home.
The presumption that a married couple shares that nest egg is a common source of friction in divorce. A breadwinner spouse who worked all those years may chafe at splitting the money, or a stay-at-home spouse may feel entitled to 50 percent (or more).
The divorce lawyers of O'Brian & Associates have extensive experience in property division and high net worth divorce, including the complexities of pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs and other qualified retirement plans. We are committed to securing the fair and equitable distribution of retirement assets our client deserves, through negotiation or courtroom proceedings. Give us a call today to discuss your unique situation. We serve clients on the Eastside and throughout the Seattle area.
We have experience valuing and dividing corporate pensions and government pensions, 401(k) and 403(b) tax-deferred plans, traditional and Roth IRAs, annuities, matured stock options, Social Security benefits and other facets of the retirement nest egg.
Our attorneys can skillfully address retirement savings within the broader property settlement, including creative trade-offs to balance out the distribution. One option is for the spouses to go their separate ways with their own retirement accounts, making up the difference with other assets, debts or cash consideration. Another method is to apportion the accounts in advance of retirement through a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). A QDRO splits the accounts equitably (but not necessarily equally) and without tax consequences. Our role is to make sure that the QDRO is fair and accurate.
Depending on the facts and legal arguments, a court may acknowledge a spouse's separate property interest in pension and retirement funds accumulated prior to marriage. But Washington's community property statute is very complex, and the court might in turn award different assets to the other spouse.
The only way to understand and protect your entitled share of the retirement pie is to hire experienced legal counsel. O'Brian & Associates practices exclusively in divorce and family law.
To arrange a confidential consultation about division of your pensions, IRAs and 401(k)s, call us at (425) 276-7677 or email our firm today.