You’re getting divorced and you think it may actually be fairly simple. You do not have children. You know how much money is in the bank. You own your home, and both of you are willing to just sell it and split the money. All you need to do is divide your assets and move forward.
Don’t get complacent just because it feels like your divorce is simple. You do not want to overlook assets that you or your spouse may have that are simply “out of sight and out of mind.” For instance, does your spouse have a retirement plan or a pension at work? A portion of that plan could be yours.
This is an easy thing to overlook if your spouse hasn’t retired yet. They have been earning the plan, but they handle it completely on their own. You’re not really involved, though you know it exists, and neither of you is using the money yet.
In actuality, though, your spouse has been earning that plan during your marriage, so it is a marital asset. This impact is easier to see if your spouse also contributes it, meaning they are literally bringing home less money to put it into the plan.
If you do have a right to some of that plan, you can use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This order sends some of the money to you when your spouse starts collecting the payments. A QDRO can be used just to divide assets, thought the IRS mentions that it can also be used for things like child support or alimony.
As you can see, it is critical to understand all of the options you have during a divorce, as you may be entitled to assets you never considered before.