Pre-Divorce Spending & Pensions
Dedicated Family Lawyers Assist with Property Division During the Divorce Process
Division of marital property in complex divorce cases often involves assets representing significant amounts of money. To ensure your current and future financial security, it is vitally important to monitor all financial accounts, including pensions, for any reckless spending that occurred during your marriage or in the months and weeks leading up to a divorce. If you can show your spouse purposelessly spent or otherwise disposed of these assets in a reckless manner or as a way of thwarting future payments to you in divorce proceedings, you may be entitled to greater shares of any other marital property involved in your case.
Your Rights to Pension Benefits
Under Section 14-10-113 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, pension benefits are among the marital property subject to equitable distribution by the courts during a divorce. This means that both spouses are entitled to a fair, though not necessarily even, share of any benefits earned by either party over the course of the marriage.
Dividing pension benefits requires vigilance and thoroughness on the part of both you and your attorney. Wrongly worded agreements regarding pensions and retirement accounts in general could end up tying up these funds, leaving them out of reach for years into the future. The IRS advises that in addition to a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which is issued by the court and submitted to your pension benefit administrator, you will also need a retirement account to roll the funds into or face paying heavy penalties. In high asset cases, you may be able to negotiate a buyout. In either case, it is important to be specific on the terms, and to be sure about the total dollar amount involved.
Uncovering Pre-Divorce Spending
While you may be assuming there is a certain amount due in pension benefits based on past statements or assurances from your spouse, it can come as a surprise to find these funds depleted. According to Forbes, dissipation of assets is common, particularly in high asset, complex divorce cases. This involves situations in which one of the spouses spend, wastes, or otherwise gives away money and assets the other spouse may have been entitled to. Pre-divorce spending of pension or other retirement benefits may have occurred for a number of reasons:
- To pay off other debts;
- To provide for a family member;
- To make up for financial losses, such as poorly performing stocks;
- To cover money spent on an affair;
- To cover for a gambling, alcohol, or drug addiction.
Pre-divorce spending is often motivated by revenge or spite, such as hiding assets to deprive the other spouse of their benefits. Our Denver divorce attorneys can help to track this spending and uncover discrepancies in pension funds, adjusting your marital property negotiations as needed. We work diligently to ensure our clients receive the maximum amount they are entitled to in their divorce case. Call or contact Nicholas Family Law online and request a consultation today.