Many clients are quite concerned because they have worked throughout their marriage and, through their employment, they have developed a very substantial retirement account. The clients often view that retirement account as belonging to them and not to their spouse; the retirement account is a direct result of their dedicated efforts over many years at work. They often ask, can I keep my retirement account when we get divorced?
The answer is not necessarily. It is important to remember that the retirement account, to the extent it was developed or accumulated during the marriage, is marital property under Maryland law. Regardless of how it is titled, and whose employment caused the creation of the retirement account, the law treats it as property of the marriage that is subject to being divided by the court between the parties. The court has the authority to transfer part of a retirement account from one spouse to another. It attempts to make sure each spouse has a fair share of all the marital property, including the retirement account.
There are many different kinds of retirement accounts (IRAs, 401K, pensions, etc.). There are different complexities with respect to each as to how the marital portion of the account is valued and allocated. What is important to know, however, is that generally the value of all retirement accounts accumulated during the marriage is marital property to be valued and divided by the court. Who gets the retirement account is not determined by title or whose efforts generated the account. All marital property is divided equitably between the parties. The division of the account values between the spouses is a subject of negotiation, and, failing that, a determination by the court.
The use of experienced counsel in negotiating the division of your retirement account is critical. Baltimore County divorce lawyers of Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC have extensive experience with equitable and fair division of property during a divorce. Call us at 443-589-0150 or fill out the online contact form to schedule your free consultation today.