Retirement Accounts in an Ohio Divorce

How Retirement Accounts are Handled in an Ohio Divorce

As spouses work to address important issues in an Ohio divorce or dissolution agreement, it is important to understand what Ohio law says about retirement accounts. Hiring an attorney can ensure each party is protected under the full extent of the law during the process.

Equitable Division

Ohio honors equitable division, which means property or assets incurred during the course of a marriage are split between both parties upon dissolution or divorce. In Ohio, marital property includes:

  • all real and personal that was acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage and is currently owned by one or both spouses, including retirement accounts;
  • all interested that one or both spouses have in real property acquired during the marriage, including retirement accounts;
  • and income and appreciation on property that occurred during the marriage;

Retirement is considered wages and is included in equitable division. What does this mean for a couple divorcing? Their retirement accounts will be split during the divorce process or otherwise accommodated to ensure each couple receives their fair share of the amount contributed or invested during the marriage.

Establishing Value

While establishing value for shared property can often be challenging, establishing value for retirement plans is quite simple in most cases. Statements or an online summary of each retirement account can be used to determine how much money was deposited during the period of time the couple was married. Earnings or loss during the marriage will also be considered in the calculation. The total value, then, will typically total the investments and earnings minus fees and losses that occurred during the marriage.

Eligible Retirement Accounts

Almost any retirement account is subject to equitable division. Accounts provided by an employer in which both the employee and employer contribute such as 401 (k) and 403 (b) accounts are included in equitable division. Likewise, independent retirement accounts like Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs, and self-employed retirement plans. Finally, public plans like the Federal Employees Retirement System and Railroad Retirement Benefits are subject to equitable division.

How Accounts are Allocated

There are multiple ways to divide a retirement plan:

  • if there are multiple accounts, each spouse may be allocated certain accounts to ensure the value is divided appropriately;
  • each account may be split among both spouses through transfer of ownership;
  • or, one spouse may retain the accounts while the other spouse is compensated their value through the awarding of another asset, such as the family home or vehicle.

It's important to note that tax should be considered and carefully accommodated when the third method is used.

How Equitable Division is Determined

Assets are not always split equally between spouses. The portion of assets to which each spouse is entitled is determined based on a number of factors including the length of the marriage. Couples who were married ten years or longer face unique challenges as most assets were often earned during the marriage and dividing before and during marriage can be difficult.

How a Divorce Attorney Can Assist

Divorce can be a challenging time in your personal life, and addressing complication issues like custody of children and division of marital property and retirement accounts can make the process even more challenging and stressful.

When you hire an experienced divorce attorney, they bring knowledge regarding state marriage law and case history to the table and iron out the details for you. They also ensure your rights are protected in the final agreement, assist with mediation and collaboration, and ensure all legal processes and requirements are met from beginning to final decree.

At Laubacher & Co., our attorneys are focused on family law. They understand the ins and outs of both amicable and contested divorce proceedings and provide comfort and peace of mind during this difficult time of your life.

To learn more about how the expert divorce attorneys at Laubacher & Co. can work toward a positive outcome for you and your family, contact us today at 440-462-1882 or request contact using our quick simple online form. We're eager to learn more about your case and advocate for you during the process.

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