Divorce Q & A's
Most Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Divorce Settlements
These FAQs are reprinted here with the permission of the The Institute
for Certified Divorce Financial Analysts.
Will I be able to receive alimony?
A: The tests for alimony (or maintenance or
spousal support) include some of the following, however, keep in
mind that no two cases are the same. You need to seek individual
advice in order to determine how the specifics of your case may
impact your ability to receive alimony: · Need - Can you
support yourself with earned income plus investment income? ·
Ability to pay - Does the payer of alimony have sufficient funds
to pay? · Length of marriage - A long-term marriage (10 years
or more) is typically a stronger case for the lower-earning spouse.
· Health of both parties.
Q: Will I lose my pension?
A: Pensions and retirement plans are marital assets. Depending on
the state you live in, the portion that was earned before your
marriage could also be considered a marital asset. However, it is
possible to keep your pension and have it offset with other assets.
Q: Should the custodial parent keep
A: This is a great question, because it's one of the most important
overlooked questions. The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no.
It's important to pinpoint exactly what it will cost to maintain
the home, factoring in taxes and inflation. The next step is to
analyze if there is enough money coming in to stay comfortable in
the home (in other words, pay the bills each month). Once that has
been determined, the advisability of retaining the home must be
compared to the advisability of giving up other assets (such as
liquid accounts, retirement plans, etc.). Finally, all decisions
need to be weighed against current economic and stock market conditions.
Certified Divorce Financial Analysts™ are trained
to help people answer this question before they commit to a settlement
that cannot be changed.
Q: What if I bring a house into the
marriage that is in my name only, and I add my spouse's name to
A: In this case, the whole house could be considered marital property.
You might have made a "presumptive gift" to the marriage
and should consult with a family law attorney to discuss your options.
Q: Is my IRA considered marital property?
It's in my name only.
A: Everything acquired during the marriage, no matter whose name
it's in, is typically considered marital property. In some states,
the increase in value of separate property could also be considered
marital. If you are going through a divorce, it would important
to evaluate the financial drawbacks to having your IRA included
in the list of assets you retain, post divorce. Remember, the funds
in the IRA cannot be accessed before 59 1/2 without paying a 10%
penalty for early withdrawal.
Q: I have never worked. Can I get
A: If your spouse has worked and if you have been married for 10
years or more, than you are entitled to one-half of your spouse's
Social Security or your own, whichever is higher--even if you are
divorced. Your spouse still retains 100% of his/her Social Security
benefit. This is an automatic guarantee and therefore it is not
a negotiation point in a divorce.
Q: How do we figure how much child support should be paid?
A: Every state has Child Support Guidelines that are mandated by
the State. However, the Guidelines get tricky when one (or both)
spouses is an independent business owner who can control their wages.
In this situation, it typically helps to bring in a financial or
tax expert who can help determine the true potential income of the
Q: Do we have to go to court?
A: Only if you can't reach an agreement. Then, a court date is set
and a judge hears the case. Less than 2% of all divorce cases go
to trial in the United States.
Q: What is a QDRO and why do I need one?
A: A QDRO (or Qualified Domestic Relations Order) is the legal document
that divides up a qualified pension or retirement account (including
401k's) pursuant to a divorce. The Judgment of Divorce is not sufficient
to divide up qualified plans, a QDRO is needed. There are many nuances
that go into QDRO's and make it an advocating (versus neutral) document.
In order to protect your assets, be sure to obtain qualified advice
in this area from a specialist.
© 2011 Liebman Associates, Inc.
The LPL Financial Registered Representative associated with this site may only discuss
and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: CA, CT, IL, IN, NJ
& Advisory Services offered through LPL Financial.
A Registered Investment Advisor Member FINRA / SIPC
Financial Planning offered through Liebman Associates, Inc.
This website may contain links to other, third party websites. This
does not guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or usefulness,
and is not responsible or liable for any content, advertising, products,
or other materials on or available from third party sites.
You will use third party content only at your own risk.
Page last updated October 2009 Disclosures ::
Website by Glantz