You have worked hard for years, and because of your professional position, you deserve a retirement pension. This benefit may have made you feel accomplished and secure in knowing that you will have the needed funds to handle your financial affairs when it comes time to retire. However, more recently, you may have begun feeling less secure about your finances due to your pending divorce.

Understandably, you do not want to lose your pension, or even a part of your pension, during the property division proceedings. The division itself could prove tricky during the legal proceedings, and the split of your hard-earned funds could result in you struggling during your retirement years.

Addressing a pension

Before you start to panic, you may want to remember that going through divorce does not guarantee the division of your pension. You may need to understand how Minnesota state divorce laws address pension plans. In many cases, the division of this type of plan does not automatically occur. Instead, your spouse would have to request the division of the pension. Additionally, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order would need filing before such a division could occur.

Because Minnesota follows equitable distribution laws, all of your marital assets will not face a necessarily equal split. Instead, the court will determine what type of division would yield the most equitable, or fair, results. You may also want to remember that, when it comes to marital assets and your pension, your spouse is likely only entitled to a portion of pension funds you acquired during the marriage. The details and terms of your pension plan could also play a role in possible division.

Protecting your pension

If you do not want to lose any of your pension, you may have ways to protect it during divorce. Because the property division must result in an equitable split, you may want to consider your negotiation tools. If you and your spouse both want to keep a specific asset that could equal the same value as a portion of the pension, you may consider allowing your spouse to keep that asset in exchange for him or her relinquishing any claims to a portion of your pension.

Property division and divorce can have complex matters even in simple cases. When you have important assets, like your pension, that you want to protect, you undoubtedly want to know how the laws will influence the division and what options you have for effective negotiations.