Baron Law & Mediation | Blog

May 03, 2021 Allan Baron

North Andover divorce- Can my spouse get my hard earned retirement

Categories: Divorce

AdobeStock_64491285.jpegIf you are about to move forward or in the middle of a North Andover Massachusetts divorce what is your attorney and your research telling you about your retirement- possibly your most valuable asset.

Massachusetts is an "equitable division" state meaning the courts will divide property in an "equitable"; fair manner based upon numerous factors set forth in the statute.

In Massachusetts, ownership in or a right to retirement is a marital asset subject to division.

Many people come in supposedly knowing the MA law which they claim to be an arbitrary 50/50 division by statute.  Ah, no.

In considering the asset of retirement and its division, the court will apply the statutory factors to the facts of your marriage:

These factors are:

1. Length of the marriage

2. Conduct of the respective parties during the marriage

3. Ages of the respective parties

4. Health of the respective parties

5. Station of the respective parties

6. Occupations of the respective parties

7. Amount and sources of income of the respective parties

8. Vocational skills of the respective parties

9. Employ-ability of the respective parties

10. Estates of the respective parties

11. Liabilities of the respective parties

12. Needs of the respective parties

13. Current needs of the minor children of the marriage

14. Future needs of the minor children of the marriage

15. Opportunities available to the respective parties for future acquisition of capital

16. Opportunities available to the respective parties for future acquisition of income

17. Contributions of the respective parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their estates

18. Contributions of Husband or Wife as homemaker.


Now, be careful to give the full history of your retirement. For example, did you come into the marriage with it? If so how long ago? What was the retirement account worth then? What is it worth now? Were certain contributions and decisions made as part of an overall agreed to plan by both of you? Did you have a specific purpose for it upon retirement? Is it a defined contribution account (like an IRA or 401k, 403b, etc)where you can see the balance? Is it a defined benefit (like a pension) account where you are trying to value a benefit to be paid in the future, if that is even doable?

If there is question of how to move through the divorce process?

Do you each want lawyers to represent you and make arguments to the court or do you as a couple and family want to try working with a mediator who is tasked to educate you, help you generate options and help you  make decisions about your agreement open to your advisors and giving you the  the best chance for having a judge approve your agreement.

Remember, the retirement issue is only of of at least a good 20 decisions that could affect you life moving forward.

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