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In a divorce, will your ex keep the retirement account held at their work?

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2022 | Property Division

Dividing your property can be challenging in a Maryland divorce. Although each of you may have some separate property, you have probably shared most of your belongings and your income since you first got married.

Some of your most valuable property might actually be in the name of only one spouse, despite your intention to share it during the marriage. If your ex has a retirement account opened by their employer and partially funded by workplace benefits, like employer-matching contributions, does that mean they will get to keep the entire retirement account when you divorce?

Much of the account is likely marital property

If you don’t reach an agreement about how to divide your property, then the court will divide it for you. Under the equitable distribution rules for Maryland divorces, the courts will not base their decisions about who gets what property solely on who has their name on the ownership paperwork. Instead, the court will look to when the property was acquired. The critical element is – was the property acquired during the marriage.

The value of the retirement account accumulated during the marriage will be subject to division. However, amounts contributed before the marriage will remain the separate property of the account holder.

You may agree to divide the retirement account, or you may factor in the value of the account created during the marriage when deciding how to split all the marital property. Knowing what property you are entitled to when you file for divorce will help you protect your financial future at the end of your marriage, especially if you do not have a retirement account in your own name.