Marriages end far more frequently than they used to, and going through a divorce doesn’t carry the same negative connotations it once did. But, the divorce process is still a difficult one, and part of that process is the division of property and assets.
Although the equitable distribution process can be a challenge for most people, individuals who work and have a pension may be particularly concerned about their pension in a divorce. Read on to learn more about what it means to live in an equitable distribution state and what will happen to your pension when you end your marriage in Indiana.
Indiana Equitable Distribution Laws
In some states, when a marriage ends, the assets, debts, and property of the couple are divided fifty-fifty, and that’s often what couples expect to happen. However, Indiana is not one of those states. In fact, Indiana follows equitable distribution laws when a marriage dissolves. This means that any marital property, assets, and debts will all be divided fairly among both spouses.
Most spouses who have a pension are disappointed to learn that their pensions are considered marital property unless otherwise noted in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. You can read more about how your pension will be divided in an Indiana divorce below.
Dividing a Pension and the Payout
Generally speaking, when one spouse has a pension, it is divided starting from the time that you were married until the day you separated. Whether your pension is vested, meaning you have earned and are collecting your benefits; or unvested, meaning you haven’t yet met the requirements to collect pension benefits, your pension will be taken into consideration as part of the equitable distribution process.
Any portion of your pension that was earned prior to your marriage, and after your official separation date, will not be considered marital property and will remain yours. You may be able to work out a different arrangement with your soon-to-be ex spouse if you don’t want to touch your pension.
Mediation is a good opportunity to see whether you and your spouse can divide assets amicably. However, if mediation is unsuccessful, your pension will likely be divided equitably. If so, you will need to submit a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) before your pension’s administrator will be able to pay out any benefits from your pension that were awarded to your spouse in the divorce.
Get Help from an Indiana Divorce Lawyer
The equitable distribution process can be a challenge for many spouses going through a divorce. For help protecting your pension and other assets, work with an experienced Indiana divorce lawyer at Rowdy G. Williams Law Firm. You can give us a call at 1-812-232-7400 or complete the brief submission form below to schedule a no-cost consultation.