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Can I Keep My Pension in a Divorce?

Pensions are important, and the person receiving the pension is guaranteed a certain amount of money as a lump amount or monthly sum during retirement. If the person is married, the spouse may be entitled to receive a percentage of the pension, even after the death of the recipient. However, the recipient never has to put any money into the pension, instead, the money is set aside by the employer.

What happens if the pension recipient gets a divorce? This situation is complex, and many divorcing spouses have pension-related questions. In most states, pensions are considered joint marital property as long as all or some of the pension started during the marriage. Therefore, the full amount of the pension is considered an asset to be divided between the divorcing spouses. Dealing with the division of retirement accounts is not cut-and-dry; in some circumstances, a spouse may not be entitled to a pension after divorce.

Exceptions to Splitting a Pension Between a Divorced Couple

During divorce proceedings involving a pension, a lawyer will want to know when a pension was first earned. For instance, if the pension happened prior to the marriage, it pre-dates the marriage. Consequently, the divorcing spouse would likely not be eligible to keep the part of the pension that existed outside of the marriage. Similarly, if a couple entered into a pre-nuptial arrangement that included the recipient’s pension, the divorcing spouse would not be able to access the pension.

It should be noted that divorcing spouses with pensions should never try to hide this type of asset. Concealing assets during divorce proceedings is always wrong. Showing all assets makes it easier for lawyers and other professionals to determine what is fair for both parties.

Is It Possible to Keep All of the Pension?

Since a pension is considered an asset like all other marital assets, it can be used as a bargaining tool during a divorce. If the pension is worth $250,000 and the marital home is also worth $250,000, the pension recipient could relinquish part ownership of the house to establish a fair trade. Offering this type of trade could be an acceptable way to split assets without touching the pension.

Will a Spouse Automatically Receive Their Ex-Partner’s Pension in a Divorce?

If a spouse is entitled to part of an ex-spouse’s private pension after divorce, the spouse must file a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) through the court. The QDRO initiates movement of the pension money, either into a retirement account to be dispersed later, or as a lump sum into one account to be available right away. Without a QDRO, the spouse cannot touch the pension money, even though it was agreed to in the divorce plan.

Are Military Pensions Different?

The law governing military pensions follows similar rules to other types of pensions. However, military pensions can be treated a bit differently federally and in each state. For this reason, divorcing military spouses should hire a lawyer who is well-versed in pensions.

Media Divorce Lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello Assist Divorcing Couples with Pension-Related Questions

Are you planning to get divorced? If you have pension-related concerns, talk with one of our Media divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello. Contact us online or call us at (610) 892-4940 for a free consultation. Located in Media, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lancaster, Montgomery County, Norristown, Philadelphia, Reading, and West Chester.

Contact the Law Office of Deborah M. Truscello

To discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation with attorney Deborah M. Truscello, Esq., call or fill out the form below. 

From our office located in Media, PA we serve the surrounding areas of

  • Bucks County
  • Chester County
  • Delaware County
  • Montgomery County
  • Philadelphia County
Including but not limited to
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  • Reading
  • West Chester

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For Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability cases, we have a contingency fee based on a percentage of what we obtain for you. We will not charge you any fee unless and until we settle your case, prevent the loss of your benefits or obtain benefits for you. 

For Family Law clients, we understand that financial difficulties often accompany divorce and other family law issues. Ask us about our reasonable and competitive hourly rates for your situation. 

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Why Clients Choose Deborah

Heather A
I have known Deb for years now and it all started in 2009 when I got hurt and needed legal help with my workers comp. I randomly chose Deb because of the things I read on her website and I liked that she had a take charge attitude about just about everything. She out-lawyered someone and got me more in a settlement for that and then also worked with me on another case and won that one as well for me. If you get to know Deb and her personal story, you will get to know an amazing single mom who has had her own struggles and has come out so much stronger. She will fight for you if you do your part as a client and follow her guidance. I have now used two women lawyers in Media and three men and I actually found the two women far more effective and both won my cases that the men lost. Without Deb and my other lawyer winning the cases for me that they did - I could have found myself disabled for good with no money to pay for the life I live because I can’t work now. I credit my ability to be able to eat and have transportation and all. I couldn’t be more grateful for their hard work they did for me. Deb has won two of my cases and I would absolutely refer others to her for the same kinds of cases and I would use her again if I ever needed her help again!
Daveen Carpenter
Deborah's team went above and beyond to get my case settled quickly. I am forever grateful
Rebecca Porter
If you ever need a worker’s compensation attorney, I highly suggest using Deborah Truscello. I had a work accident injury and was referred to Deborah. She was with me every step of the way, with this long-drawn-out process. She was there any time I had questions or needed advice on my rehabilitation. Now my case is settled. I am very happy how things turned out and I owe it all to her. I can't thank her enough. I will use her again if I ever need too.
Jackson Jones
Deborah is an excellent lawyer. She was professional, knowledgeable, and made me and my case feel important. She was always accessible and answered all of my questions. I would definitely recommend Debbie to anyone injured at work and in need of legal services.
I am a client of Deborah Truscello and also a woman of color. Deborah Truscello is not a bigot nor is she a racist. I hired Ms. Truscello back in 2016 for a very nasty custody case against a crazy man who has a history of dragging all his children through the court system. Ms. Truscello has been nothing but professional and well organized. She is very reliable and always available. I could contact her any time of the day or night and she is always responsive to my text messages, calls, and emails. If you are considering hiring her as your attorney I highly recommend you schedule a consultation and see for yourself you will not be disappointed.
Andrew Kriegh
Amazing law firm, they have helped me so much and enlightened me to the options I have, and to the right doctors who are still treating my issues... Very professional and very great people glad to have her in my team!!

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