Am I entitled to Half of My Spouse’s Retirement?

Half of my spouse's retirement, what can I get?
Marital Retirement Account – Can I get half of my spouse’s retirement?

Can I get half of my spouse’s retirement?  Can my spouse get half of mine? It depends, but the short answer is typically yes to both.

Retirement Accounts, Divorce, and MN Law

  • Retirement accounts and pensions are types of property.
  • Property acquired during the marriage is generally marital, subject to a few exceptions.  
  • Whether your name is on the property doesn’t typically matter.
  • Whether the property can be conveniently divided during divorce doesn’t change each spouse’s interest in the property.  If anything, it may only change how or when it’s divided.
  • Whether a spouse is currently drawing from retirement or pensions doesn’t usually impact the other’s interest.

However, the discussion on retirements during a divorce doesn’t end here.  Divorce arguments involving retirement accounts can include:

  • What date to use for valuation
  • Who to use for valuation.  This is particularly important for pensions.
  • How to split the account
  • When to split the account
  • How to balance the account against other assets
  • Whether there is a valid non-marital claim on an account

Half of My Spouse’s Retirement: One Caveat

If the pension or retirement account is marital property, each spouse is entitled to a share.  If one spouse doesn’t want to give the other spouse their share, that’s understandable.  However, this is not a valid legal argument.  In some cases though, a spouse breaks under the other’s pressure. Sometimes unrepresented spouses make a big mistake. The spouse sometimes gives up his or her valuable share of these accounts.

If you’re concerned about a fair division of pension and retirement assets in your divorce, it makes sense to retain an attorney.

For other divorce or family law questions, please consult the list to the left or the FAQ page.  If you’re interested in retaining an attorney to help you, please feel free to contact my office for a consultation using the contact information on the left or the contact form on the Majeski Law home page