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4 ways to protect your pension in an Illinois divorce

by | Jul 10, 2022 | Division of Assets

A lot goes on during a divorce: You need to find a way to deal with your emotions, handle custody and visitation arrangements, decide who gets to keep the house or the business and more. With all this upheaval, it can be easy to forget about your pension. Basically, it can also be split, so if you want to keep it, you must make arrangements early before the final divorce decree is ossified.

Understand the terms of your pension plan

You need to know how your particular plan works and what rules apply to it. Many pensions are governed by state or federal law, so you will want to check with your human resources department or look up the applicable laws online. In Illinois, for example, the Illinois Public Pension Division regulates pensions for state employees.

Stay on top of the paperwork

When you are going through a divorce, there will be a lot of division of assets/pensions paperwork to keep track of. Make sure that you keep copies of all relevant retirement documents in a safe place that you can easily access when needed.

Offer your ex other alternatives to the pension

If you want to keep your pension but your spouse does not want to give up their part of it, you can try to negotiate. You could offer alternatives. For example, you could agree to give up your interest in the family home or take on a larger share of debt in exchange for keeping your pension.

Don’t forget survivorship benefits

When married, many couples name each other as primary beneficiaries of their retirement accounts. However, it is important to update the beneficiary designations on your accounts after a divorce. Otherwise, family law dictates that your ex may still be entitled to receive benefits if you die unexpectedly.

It may seem difficult to protect your pension during the divorce. However, it is worth all the effort and time. Pensions are very valuable during retirement and old age.

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