Why is my spouse entitled to any of my retirement?

Many people seem baffled by this – they wonder why their spouse is entitled to take any portion of their retirement plan. The reality is that a retirement account is subject to division through equitable distribution just as any other asset or liability is. What you earn during your marriage is considered marital property and subject to division.

Simply put, any asset or liability that was acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, and must be shared by the parties upon the dissolution of the marriage. Everything will be divided, from bank accounts and personal property to time-shares and even frequent flyer miles. Your retirement is not exempt from this.

Keep in mind, however, that retirement earned prior to the date of marriage isn’t marital. Retirement earned after the date of separation isn’t marital either. The only portion of your retirement subject to division is the portion earned during the marriage.


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