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How Pensions Are Treated in a Michigan Divorce - Cameron C. Goulding

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Nov 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Q: Will my spouse get half of my pension if we divorce?

When you're getting divorced in Michigan, there are several factors that need to be worked out before your knot is officially untied. 

If you have minor children, you'll have the often emotionally-charged issues of child custody, visitation, and child support to work through. Sometimes, one spouse will seek alimony, or spousal support, from the other. 

But one thing all married couples need to address in their divorce is the division of marital property. And if your property includes a pension you will want a Michigan property settlement lawyer with extensive knowledge of accounting, property valuation, and tax issues. 

Pensions in a Michigan divorce

Michigan is an equitable distribution state which essentially means that any property a couple acquires during the course of their marriage is considered to be the marital property of both parties and will be divided in the event of a divorce in an equitable, or fair, manner. That doesn't necessarily mean a 50-50 split. 

Generally, pensions are considered marital property subject to being equitably divided with the non-employee spouse having a claim against the employee spouse's retirement account. 

State laws differ as does their application to different types of retirement accounts. For example, some federal retirement plans like those of postal, railroad, military, or state workers, may have special rules in the event of divorce. But typically, a Michigan judge uses a qualified domestic relations order [QDRO] to divide 401(k) and private pension plans, directing what proceeds from the plans will be paid to the non-employee spouse. Sometimes, the non-employee spouse must wait until the employee-spouse is eligible to collect their retirement money. Other times, the non-employee spouse might receive other assets to “offset” the amount they would have received from the retirement plan instead. 

If you are considering getting divorced in Michigan and have questions regarding the division of marital property, Cameron C. Goulding Family Law and Mediation, P.L.C. can help you. Contact us today to request a consultation. 

From our office in Rochester, Michigan, we exclusively practice family law and help clients throughout Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Livingston, Lapeer, and Wayne Counties navigate their matrimonial problems and other family law issues.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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