For couples who are going through a divorce or separation proceeding, particularly those who terminate a marriage later in life, a retirement plan or pension is often the largest asset after the family home. In Michigan, when courts seek to divide assets upon the termination of a marital relationship, each spouse takes his or her separate property, and the marital property is divided equitably. Retirement benefits, pension plans, and 401(k)s accumulated, even if not paid out, during the marriage are considered marital property and are subject to equitable division upon divorce or separation. Retirement benefits that were earned before the marriage commenced or that will be earned after the termination of the marriage are separate property, awarded to the spouse in whose name they are held.
In family law, as in many other areas of law, the laws are not black and white, and judges have discretion as to how to apportion marital assets. Attorney Chatterton has over 20 years of experience handling divorce cases and the division of assets upon divorce. He can advise you as to the factors that the courts will take into consideration and the likelihood of the results.
He encourages parties to come to an agreement on how to divide marital assets, including pension plans and other retirement benefits. In the event, that a couple cannot agree, he is armed with the knowledge and experience to pursue a favorable settlement in court. Trying to navigate the family court system can be intimidating and should not be done alone. Contact the Law Office of Patrick L. Chatterton and be assured that you are represented by experienced legal counsel.