Your Rights to Retirement Assets

Retirement assets and savings are among the most valuable assets many individuals own. During the division of assets in a Kansas divorce, couples are also required to distribute their retirement savings – including 401(k) plans and pension plans – equitably and justly.

However, there are legal and tax implications that make it quite difficult to evaluate and divide retirement assets. An experienced Kansas divorce attorney can enlighten you about the rules regarding the division of property and your rights to retirement savings in your divorce.

At Jeffers Law Office, Attorney Mark Jeffers is dedicated to offering knowledgeable legal counsel and reliable advocacy to individuals and families in the legal matters of divorce and property division. He can discuss your unique situation with you, help you understand the asset division process, and explain how retirement benefits will be distributed. Attorney Mark Jeffers will fight compassionately for your best interests and help protect the retirement savings that are rightfully yours. 

Jeffers Law Office is proud to serve clients across Johnson County, Kansas, including Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, and Prairie Village. Call him today for a free initial telephone consultation.

Equitable Division of
Marital Property

Marital property (or community property) comprises all assets, property, and debts that the couple accumulated during their marriage. These include the marital home, cars, bank accounts, furniture pieces, income, royalties, rents, stocks, 401(k) accounts, pension plans, credit card charges, and all other assets accrued during the couple's marriage.

Kansas is an "equitable distribution" state. According to state laws, marital property must be divided between the spouses "equitably and fairly." Equitable doesn't necessarily mean "equal" but rather, fair. In order to achieve equitable property distribution, the Kansas court will consider the following factors:

  • The age of each spouse
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The separate property owned by each spouse
  • The present and future earning capacity of each spouse
  • The time, source, and manner of acquisition of property
  • Each spouse's family ties and obligations
  • The allowance of spousal maintenance (alimony) or lack thereof
  • The dissipation of assets of either spouse
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties
  • Any other factor deemed necessary by the court to make a fair and reasonable division of property

A knowledgeable Kansas divorce attorney can walk you through the asset division process and help you understand how it might affect your retirement benefits.

How Retirement Assets Factor In

The distribution rules for retirement assets and savings in a divorce often depend on the types of retirement plans. Different types of retirement assets include:

  • Savings accounts
  • Defined-contribution plans
  • Profit-sharing plans
  • Payroll deduction IRAs
  • Traditional retirement plans, such as IRA, 401(k), and annuities
  • Defined-benefit plan
  • Roth IRA
  • 403(b) plans
  • Military benefits
  • Government pension

Any amount stored away or deposited in the retirement accounts during the couple's marriage, including employer-sponsored retirement plans, will be recognized as marital property. 

In the event that there is no prenuptial agreement that states otherwise, you and your spouse will be legally eligible to receive part of the retirement balance. An experienced Kansas property division lawyer can help protect your share of the retirement savings by filing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

Qualified Domestic Relations Order

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a court order that provides specific instruction regarding how the retirement savings and assets will be distributed between the former spouses. The Kansas court will first determine the exact amounts available in the retirement accounts. Then, your attorney can petition a QDRO that will:

  • Prevent your estranged spouse from taking out the funds in the retirement plan
  • Instruct the retirement plan administrator to pay you your part of the retirement benefits
  • Prevent your spouse's employer from paying out the retirement benefits directly to your spouse
  • Punish your estranged spouse for withdrawing money from the retirement accounts

An experienced attorney can draft the QDRO on your behalf and explain the tax consequences of dividing retirement benefits in a divorce.

Tax Ramifications of Dividing Retirement Assets

In the state of Kansas, retirement transfers are designed to be non-taxable (tax-free). Conversely, dividing the retirement benefits and assets before reaching the retirement age will be subject to a 10% penalty fee.

Nevertheless, you can avoid the withdrawal fee by distributing the retirement benefits in accordance with the provisions of the divorce decree. Hence, consulting with a trusted family law or tax attorney is crucial for proper guidance and to help you navigate crucial decisions when dividing retirement benefits.

How an Experienced
Attorney Can Help

Dividing retirement accounts and pensions are among the most contentious issues in a divorce. Unfortunately, some spouses can go to any length to deprive their ex-spouse of their rights to retirement assets. Thankfully, seeking a QDRO can help protect your retirement savings and prevent your estranged partner from withdrawing the funds from the retirement accounts. An experienced family law attorney can review your possible options and decide what is best for your unique situation.

For over four decades, Attorney Mark Jeffers has devoted his career to helping clients navigate the complexities involved in the division of property and retirement assets in a divorce. Using his in-depth legal understanding, Mark will craft an effective strategy to protect your retirement savings and assets and help you draft the QDRO. Also, Attorney Mark Jeffers will work meticulously with both parties to help resolve other asset division or divorce-related matters amicably and make your transition as smooth as possible.

Contact Jeffers Law Office today to schedule a free initial telephone consultation with an experienced property division lawyer. Attorney Mark Jeffers can provide you with the personalized legal counsel and brilliant advocacy you need to navigate important divorce decisions successfully. The firm is proud to serve clients across Johnson County, Kansas, including Overland Park, Olathe, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, and Prairie Village.


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