Most people don’t consider dividing up retirement assets when hiring a lawyer for a divorce case. To divide most standard retirement plans, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order – a specialized court order that allows a retirement plan to pay benefits to someone other than the employee – is required. When interviewing potential divorce lawyers, find out how much experience they have dividing up retirement plans – especially if there are government or other non-qualified plans involved. Be sure to provide your lawyer with all the information available about the retirement plans. This information can be obtained from your spouse’s lawyer through the discovery process if you are not the employee. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from a retirement disaster is not assume your lawyer knows how division of retirement plans works.
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