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Divorce and retirement accounts: who gets what?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2023 | Blog, Divorce, High-Asset Divorce

Going through a divorce is undoubtedly one of the most challenging experiences anyone can go through. In addition to the emotional difficulties the couple is going through, many other issues can further complicate the divorce process, including child custody and finances.

Retirement accounts: who owns what?

In Ohio, retirement savings that a couple earns during the marriage is usually deemed marital property and subject to equitable division by the court, like a bank account.

If one spouse’s name is on a retirement account, it is still considered marital property if the funds were acquired during the marriage. Any assets accrued when a couple is married belong to both spouses.

Fair and equitable asset division of assets

Ohio courts strive to divide assets fairly between spouses because they recognize that, in many cases, one spouse is the family’s breadwinner while the other stays home to care for the children. The court’s goal is to consider both spouses as contributors to the marriage, even if they contribute differently.

Separate vs. marital property

If the spouses acquired retirement accounts before the marriage, it is more likely that the court will deem those assets—at least the portion of funds earned outside of the marriage—as separate property belonging to the person who earned them.

Dates matter

When the time comes to divide retirement accounts, dates matter. The court will look at the value of the retirement accounts on the date of the marriage, the date of separation, the date of filing, and the present value of the retirement accounts.

The court will make a fair and equitable distribution of retirement assets like any other marital property after evaluating all these factors.

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