Dividing Pension Plans in Equitable Distribution Cases

North Carolina divorce proceedings are in place to help divorcing spouses end their marriage in a way that is legally fair to everyone involved, as discussed in previous articles. Wake County family court can divide up the assets of both spouses and arrange for an equitable distribution to both parties when two spouses file for a divorce. One asset that may prove rather difficult to split equitably are pension plans of either spouse. NC family law attorneys can help both parties understand what kinds of rules and laws govern these plans, and how they might be split in Wake County family court.

Retirement plans may be acquired by either spouse through their employers or through the US Federal government, as is the case for Social Security. Judges in Wake County family court are not able to divide or otherwise consider outright Social Security benefits as an asset to be divided. However, the complicated rules that surround Social Security in NC family court cases may sometimes allow for some benefit to be provided to one or the other spouse. In addition, prior decisions made about this asset for divorcing spouses may be altered if one or the other remarries. Wake County attorneys remain the best guidance for this particular type of asset.

Spouses may also have pension plans that they acquired from an employer, such as a 401(k). These are able to be divided in North Carolina family court, usually according to the amount earned during the marriage and prior to the separation. The court will look at a variety of factors to determine the fairest way to split a pension plan. These may include the type of plan, how much was contributed, and how long the marriage lasted.

It is often challenging to take into account all of the potential assets of a marriage when spouses divorce. Some assets may be quite obvious and easy to split equitably. Other assets may be less apparent, particularly if the value of the asset only fully appears in the future. Pension plans, from both employers and the Federal government are certainly assets of this type. Wake County attorneys can provide opinions and experienced advice that can help either party receive the most accurate and fair ruling during equitable distribution cases.