If you have a pension and you are getting divorced, there’s a good chance you want to know how you can keep your pension in a divorce.
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As you know, an uncontested divorce in Illinois is one by agreement, so that’s a good start. But you should know, you can keep your pension in a idvorce if . . .
. . . your spouse agrees.
Remember, and uncontested divorce is about agreement
First and formost, an uncotnested divorce in Illinois is about agreement. I give lots of tips about how to make an uncontested divorce fast and affordable.
But at the heart of it all is this one simple fact:
You need an actual agreement to get an uncontested divorce.
If your spouse will agree that you can keep all of your pension, than there is a good chance you will be able to do so. But there are a few more things you need to consider.
The divorce judge must agree
Even in an uncontestd divorce in Illinois, getting divorce is not JUST about coming to an agreement. Once that agreement is properly drafted, the divorce judge must approve of the agreement.
The judge must find the agreement to be “not unconscionable.” That means the judge must find the agreement to be fair, or not against public policy. But what doe that mean?
Well, It is unlikely that a judge would approve an agreement where, for example, two people have been married for 20 years, have four kids, and the husband is walking away with $1 billion while the wife is awarded $100,000 and no spousal maintenance.
Part of the job of an uncontested divorce lawyer in Illinois is to draft agreements that will be accepted by a divorce judge.
If you go to court and the judge does not accept an agreement, then you will need to fix it, then come back to court at a later date.
Creative ideas to keep pensions in divorce
Let’s say you really want to keep your pension.
There are some ways as divorce lawyer can help you structure a deal that will help you keep your pension.
For example, perhaps you can use other assets to offset what part of your pension your spouse would otherwise get. This type of deal can involve paying off a spouse over time, and considering the time-value of money (ie the benefit of your spouse receiving money sooner than your retirement).
Sometimes people are temped to use scammy online divorce websites to get a fast and affordable divorce. But the area of pensions is an example of how using a divorce website can really come back to bite you. For example, I’ve handled several post-divorce cases that became very expensive because of all the pension-related litigation that could have been avoided if the parties had used an uncontested divorce lawyer to handle their case.
Valuing and dividing pensions
Dealing with pensions can be complicated because they are unique in some ways. If you are going to split any part of a pension at all, then the following are issues that you might confront.
Pensions can be difficult to value. In other words, it can be hard to determine the value of a pension.
Further, pensions require special court orders to handle division. In Illinois, we often refer to these orders as QDROs, or qualified domestic relations orders. You could end up losing money and causing unnecessary litigation if your QDRO is not properly drafted.