You pinned your hopes for your golden years on your partner’s retirement funds, but now you’re facing a divorce and you’re not sure what that means for your future.

Over 46 million workers in the U.S. are planning to use retirement benefits to usher themselves and their families into the next stage of their life. But if you’ve been banking on your partner’s accounts being there to help you, a divorce could be a terrifying proposition. Fortunately, Michigan usually considers retirement accounts as property, and they can split them like any other asset if they qualify.

Payment planning

It can be difficult to calculate the worth of a complex account like a 401(k) plan or pension, and what your percentage will be. You’ll likely have to determine how much of your marriage intersected with your partner’s credited service or investment period, and perhaps consider changes in value over time.

Summing it up

These types of payments might not come to you in one lump sum, but rather get doled out depending on your share and the nature of the program:

  • Offsetting: Instead of giving you a slice of the retirement funds, the courts could take their value and match it with a larger portion of other qualifying assets.
  • Sharing: You and your partner could receive intertwined retirement benefits. Likely tied to the time frame between retirement and passing on, the single account could send you each a check every month.
  • Separating: If the courts award your separate benefits, you might split assets into a second account and not have to wait until your partner retires to start gaining your monthly allotment. The monthly payment could take duration and life expectancy into account, meaning a different monthly amount than your partner will eventually receive.

You’re likely entitled to a claim of the retirement accounts, but it’ll help if you know what your share is worth and how you’ll receive it. Make sure you get the money you need to keep your retirement dreams plausible.