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Am I Entitled to My Spouse’s Pension After a Wisconsin Divorce?

Posted on in Family Law

Waukesha Divorce LawyersAs divorce among those 50 and older becomes more common, questions about post-retirement finances take on greater importance during the division of marital assets. One of the most important of these assets is retirement savings accounts, including pensions. You may have been relying on your spouse’s pension as a major source of your retirement savings. An experienced divorce attorney can help you determine how much of a pension you may be entitled to and what your options moving forward are.

Pension Division in a Wisconsin Divorce

During a marriage in Wisconsin, most property, assets, and other wealth that the couple accumulates is considered marital property. Since Wisconsin is a community property state, if the couple gets divorced, the property will be divided between the two spouses. This includes assets such as pensions. Whatever percent of the pension that your spouse accumulated while you were married would be subject to division. If your spouse began working and earning the pension after you were married, the entire pension would be considered marital property and subject to division.

The value of the pension must be determined by an actuary before it can be divided. Additionally, spouses can negotiate exactly how the pension will be divided. The spouses could choose to each receive their share of the pension directly. This requires a QDRO, or Qualified Domestic Relations Order to avoid any early withdrawal or tax penalties. The second option is for the spouse who earned the pension to buy out the other spouse’s share of the pension. This can be accomplished by using their portion of other marital assets, including the marital home, vehicles, or other financial options.

While pensions are just one part of the overall larger marital estate, they can have a substantial influence on the divorce proceedings for many couples, especially those approaching retirement.

Contact a Brookfield, WI Lawyer for the Division of Marital Property

If you are considering a divorce, but understandably have questions about the financial impact it will have on your future, you can trust the Waukesha divorce attorneys at Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP to share their knowledge and experience with you. Whether it is for questions about pensions, other retirement accounts, or the division or marital property in general, we can answer your questions and guide you through the process. We stress communication throughout the divorce process and will provide you with strong, experienced legal representation. Call us today at 262-232-6699 for your free initial consultation.


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