How Colorado retirement benefits may be divided in divorce

Divorcing Colorado couples have many financial aspects to consider. Not only do they have to determine how to divide their home, property and basic assets, but they also have to determine how to divvy up other potential sources of income. A common account that is divided during a divorce is a retirement plan. Different strategies will work for different couples, but there are some basic guidelines that can help most people.

When dividing a pension, the two spouses need to consider who has the larger pension. In some cases, one spouse will not have one at all. Typically, men have larger pensions than women, if they exist at all -- though that may be changing as more women succeed in the workplace. Though some couples benefit from a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, it may not be the best choice for everyone. If a spouse wants to have rights to part of that pension in a divorce agreement, he or she may have to surrender another type of asset, such as mutual fund.

For this to be an option, the spouses must know the value of the pension in question. It will also help each party to consider what their long- and short-term goals and financial needs may be. If one spouse is older than the other, this can affect when the other spouse may be able to access a retirement fund and mean that the division is not equitable, even if it was originally devised to be so. For those couples who each have a pension, they each potentially have a right to a portion of the other's retirement benefits. This can influence the division of other assets as well.

Retirement benefits are not the most simple factor to manage during a divorce proceeding. Those who need more information may find it helpful to research how retirement benefits can be affected by divorce in Colorado. Open and honest communication between all parties may be the best course of action to as positive a resolution as is possible.

Source:, "Pensions, Divorce and Offset Strategies", , Sept. 22, 2014

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