Just as a divorce can leave you with questions about your future, it can leave you with many questions about your retirement savings. What happens to your retirement savings in divorce? Will your spouse be able to take some of the money you set aside for your later years? Is it possible to protect your retirement savings in a divorce?

Is your retirement savings subject to divorce?

Under Missouri law, most of the funds acquired during your marriage are jointly owned by you and your spouse as marital property. While the contributions made to your retirement accounts before your marriage would be owned solely by you, the court will probably divide the portion of money that you set aside after your wedding.

Your savings account may not be the only retirement asset that the court divides.

Depending on you or your spouse’s career path, one of you may be entitled to a pension plan after you retire. These pensions, though, are often subject to division in a divorce. This includes military pensions as long as the couple meets certain requirements. Generally, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will address how to handle pension plan division.

Can you protect your retirement savings?

It is possible to protect the money you have saved even if the court views it as marital property. If you and your spouse’s retirement accounts are of similar value, for example, the court may determine that it is fair for you to each keep your own account after the divorce. In other cases, you may be able to sacrifice another asset to keep your retirement savings as your sole property.

While dividing your retirement savings may be a daunting task, you may still be able to reach a fair solution that protects your finances for years to come.