Retirement Assets in Divorce

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Retirement Assets in Divorce for Columbus Residents

Retirement asset specialists with over 59 years of experience.

Retirement assets can be protected under a lot of circumstances, but divorce is not among them. Any property acquired during the marriage is technically considered “marital property” under Ohio law. This includes assets held in 401k’s or IRAs.

The attorneys at the Lawrence Law Office can help you protect your retirement assets in divorce. Our attorneys have over 59 years of combined experience helping our clients successfully protect their interests and find an equitable means of untangling their assets from a spouse. For more information, please feel free to contact the Lawrence Law Office to set up an appointment.

Maximize Retirement Benefits During Divorce

The divorce rate among Baby Boomers has jumped by more than 50% over the past two decades. This is true in the Delaware, Ohio, and Columbus, Ohio, areas as well. When Baby Boomers terminate their marriage, one critical issue is how are they going to support themselves after the marriage ends.

While these issues are common in any divorce case, they are complicated by the fact that many Baby Boomers are approaching retirement age and will be living off of their retirement income and social security benefits. In a divorce, Baby Boomers need to know how to properly value these retirement assets and understand that there may be some benefit to terminating the marriage once the assets are in pay status. This critical issue requires advanced planning and strategy.

Equitable Distribution Laws in Ohio

married elderly coupleGenerally speaking, marital property is divided 50/50, but that is not always the case. Ohio is an equitable distribution state as opposed to a community property state. While dividing marital assets 50/50 saves the court a lot of time (and by extension, you a lot of money), there are situations in which your spouse may not have comparable earning power as you do. In this case, the court may see fit to take a look at your retirement assets as a possible source of income for your spouse.

In some cases, a vindictive spouse may attempt to hide their own retirement assets in an attempt to gouge you for yours. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Our attorneys often see one spouse attempt to hide assets from the other in an attempt to recover undeserved money in a divorce. If your spouse has their own source of income, chances are they have their own retirement account. They should not, for a variety of reasons, require your personal retirement assets in an equitable distribution.

The Lawrence Law Office can help protect your future if your former spouse tries to go after your retirement assets.

Retirement Assets Attorney in Columbus

It’s important to have a Columbus attorney for retirement assets in divorce who understands Ohio laws concerning the equitable distribution of assets. One of the key elements that a court uses to determine whether or not an asset is a good candidate to be equitably distributed is the relative liquidity of the asset. Since retirement accounts generally do not avail themselves to liquidity until you are of retirement age and, in fact, are better off left alone, it may be much easier to protect them than other assets.

This, of course, depends on a number of factors. The most important is: what is your former spouse’s earning power?

In cases where your spouse has a comparable earning power and significant retirement assets themselves, the court may seek to leave your retirement assets alone. However, there are some other considerations to bear in mind. For instance, your behavior throughout the marriage can have a profound impact on what the court considers “equitable”. Amid allegations of abuse or infidelity, the court may seek to “punish” an offending spouse by favoring the other during the division of assets.

If you are being accused of such allegations, it can impact how the court decides to distribute marital property. Still, the burden of proof is on the individual who is making the allegations. If your former spouse wants to pursue fault-based grounds in a marriage, they will need to provide evidence to the court that you committed one of the grounds that Ohio uses to establish fault. A Columbus, OH divorce attorney can help you through this process.

You May Need More than a Lawyer when Dividing Retirement Assets 

Retirement assets are some of the most complex to deal with in a divorce. At Lawrence Law, our attorneys have the necessary skills to divide these fairly and accurately. Other professionals are also sometimes necessary when dividing retirement assets. A CPA can advise on the tax implications of dividing retirement assets, which is always a top issue for couples that have retirement savings. When a retirement account is divided, it is sometimes taxable, depending on the type of fund it is. Those taxes are sometimes great, and a CPA will shield you from the most harmful implications.

It is also sometimes difficult to determine what portion of the savings are considered marital and separate property, particularly when a spouse had the account in their name well before the marriage. A financial planner will work with our family law attorney when making these decisions, to ensure the accounts are divided fairly. A financial planner and a CPA can also advise on any penalty that may be applied when early withdrawals are made from a retirement account.

 Often when these complex issues are present in a divorce, these third-party experts need to be called in separately, which takes time and can make the divorce process more expensive. At Lawrence Law Office, Attorney Linda Lawrence already has an extensive network of experts in place, and she relies on them often to help with the challenging issues many divorce cases present. The benefits of having this network on hand are passed on to our clients, who can get the sound professional advice as soon as they need it, without having to wait for phone calls to be returned or meetings to be set up. All of this means that your divorce case will be finalized more quickly, more smoothly, and in a manner that is more cost-effective, too.

Client Reviews

Had free consultation. Advice given was taken, and resulted in change of mind in the other/opposing party. We therefore did not need to retain. Should opposing party resume original opinion, we will retain.


I was in a terrible custody dispute with my ex. I was very upset and afraid of my ex. Rodd listened to everything I said and remembered everything I said. He was aggressive in court and used the information I gave him very well. We won the case and my ex has backed off.


I wanted an easy divorce from my wife. She wanted a fight. Rodd and I discussed fair terms for a dissolution. Because he was pro active and stayed on top of the case, my wife and I finally reached an agreement and had a dissolution. I highly recommend Rodd.


I hired Linda Lawrence because I have a business and I wanted to protect it in my divorce. Linda is top notch and knows about business finance and assets. I was able to keep my business and not have to pay my wife anything from it. Hire her.


I hired Linda Lawrence because I needed an aggressive attorney. Linda was able to stand up against the other attorney and was very aggressive in court. It was an expensive divorce case, but that was because the other attorney was very aggressive and Linda was very thorough. I had great results in my case and highly recommend Linda.


What if I’m Entitled to a Share of My Former Spouse’s Retirement Assets?

A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) effectively establishes that one spouse should be paid out a “share” of retirement assets that have been accrued by the other spouse. This protects the retirement account from liquidation while simultaneously protecting one spouse’s equitable claim to the retirement fund. These can be drafted before the divorce is finalized.

The divorce attorneys at the Lawrence Law Office have significant experience writing QDROs and can ensure that the divorce decree covers all contingencies. In a case where your former spouse dies before the retirement accounts are set to pay out, that money can easily be lost. Our attorneys will draft the QDRO such that it covers this contingency and several others.

Talk to a Retirement Assets Attorney in Columbus Today

The Columbus attorney for retirement assets in divorce at the Lawrence Law Office have successfully represented the interests of our clients in divorce proceedings. This includes divorces in which marital assets are hotly contested. Our firm will fight for your right to fair compensation under Ohio’s equitable distribution laws or protect your assets during a divorce. Give us a call or contact us online for more information.

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