Can you claim part of a spouse’s retirement account in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2021 | Division of Marital Property

The more assets you share with your spouse, the more the two of you will have to negotiate during your divorce. High-asset marriages often come with plenty of assets for the two of you to split, as well as a situation with two people on very different financial footing. 

When one spouse has a high-earning career in engineering or medicine, the other may only work part-time or even stay home entirely to support the household and family. Leaving the workforce can make it easier for your spouse to focus on their career, but it puts you at a real financial disadvantage if you decide to divorce. 

If you have historically been a stay-at-home spouse, your spouse may have a retirement savings account while you do not. Is it possible for you to ask for a portion of that retirement account in your upcoming Michigan divorce?

Equitable distribution often impacts retirement accounts

Equitable or fair distribution is the rule in Michigan. The judge presiding over your divorce will have to consider the circumstances of your marriage in their attempt to reach an appropriate and fair division of your marital property. 

Any amount contributed to a retirement account during your marriage will likely be a marital asset that the two of you will share, even if the account is solely in your spouse’s name. Thankfully, the division of retirement assets is a very common requirement in modern divorces. The two of you can draft a qualified domestic relations order that effectively splits the account without incurring penalties or taxes often triggered by early withdrawals. 

Determining what assets are the most important to you during the property division process can help you ask for appropriate and fair terms.