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Long Island Divorce & Retirement Accounts — Who Gets Paid?

by | Mar 12, 2019 | divorce, divorce lawyer long island ny, News and Events

Divorce can impact you financially, including your retirement accounts. For most people on Long Island, planning for retirement is largely guesswork. Although you’re putting part of your income in savings accounts and investments to provide for your future expenses when you no longer can or want to work, there are a lot of things that are up in the air. For example, you don’t know how inflation will affect the value of your retirement funds and how much cost of living will increase on Long Island. Even so, you save because it’s important to try to plan ahead as much as you can.

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When planning for retirement, not many people consider the impact of a divorce on your retirement nest egg, especially if you aren’t even married yet. However, divorce matters a lot when you discover that retirement accounts are subject to New York property division laws. Divorce can significantly impact you financially, both when it comes to retirement accounts and in other ways. If your divorce is contentious, the costs associated with it can skyrocket. Here’s what you need to know about divorces and retirement accounts on Long Island.

Marital Property or Not Marital Property?

Most of the time, retirement accounts are considered marital property under New York law and are subject to division. However, there may be a few cases where some or all of the funds in a retirement account may not be considered marital property. If you had the account before you were married, the court may determine that only the funds and interest accumulated during your marriage would be subject to division — the funds and interest you had prior to your marriage would remain your own. Another situation where your retirement accounts may not be divisible is if you had a prenuptial agreement in place that specifies it as separate property.

How Are Retirement Accounts That Are Marital Property Divided?

Retirement funds considered marital property are subject to the same property division laws as any other asset. New York, like most other states, has fair and equitable distribution laws, meaning that although the division may not be exactly equal, it will be impartial and fair to both parties. Long Island courts take into account a number of factors when determining who gets what in a divorce, including:

  • You and your ex-spouse’s assets and income prior to marriage
  • You and your ex-spouse’s assets and income during marriage
  • How long you were married
  • If you and your ex-spouse share children
  • You and your ex-spouse’s expected assets and income as you begin to live independent from one another

The above is not a comprehensive list of all things courts will consider, however, it gives a general idea of what goes into making a decision regarding retirement funds in a Long Island divorce.

Will You Get Penalized for Withdrawing Your Retirement Funds Early?

If you get a divorce and are required to split your retirement accounts, you may believe that you’ll be subject to early withdrawal penalties because technically, you are withdrawing the funds before your actual retirement. However, if you have a court order that requires you to withdraw your retirement funds to divide them according to the final judgment issued in your divorce, you will not incur early withdrawal or tax penalties. Since divorce and divvying up retirement funds is commonplace, you should only need to fill out a few forms to have a new account opened in your ex-spouse’s name so their portion of the funds can simply be rolled over.

Questions About Divorce & Retirement Funds? Contact Our Long Island Divorce Law Firm Today

Our Long Island divorce law firm has handled a number of divorces involving retirement accounts. Whether you want to protect your retirement accounts or get your fair share of the funds, we can provide you with zealous, compassionate, and aggressive legal representation. Our commitment to you is to offer the affordable protection of your rights and best interests in your Long Island divorce case. Contact us today to learn more about how to proceed with a divorce if you have retirement accounts and what your next step should be. Call 631-923-1910 now for a free consultation.

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Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

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Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!
Rob Spielmann
Rob Spielmann
22:15 27 Feb 20
They made our process so easy. They were there to answer and help with any questions that came up. Very friendly


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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