Pensions: 12 Worst Mistakes Lawyers Make
Divorce and Pension Plans
Getting your fair share of pension plans – perhaps the largest asset you divide – isn’t automatic. Your lawyer prepares a detailed pension order for the Court to consider.
Don’t assume lawyers know everything. Divorce and retirement issues can be important and should be explored with knowledge and management.
The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement warns against a dozen mistakes your lawyer may make regarding divorce and pension plans that could cost you your share of retirement benefits.
- Doesn’t ask for the important information about your spouse’s pension and retirement benefits soon enough.
- Doesn’t prepare any pension order.
- Doesn’t obtain information about every retirement benefit that might be marital property.
- Doesn’t obtain information about all pension plan features.
- Doesn’t ask for a survivor benefit or fails to tell you none is available.
- Doesn’t explain how retirement benefits are usually divided under state law.
- Doesn’t explain what your former husband might do that would reduce or eliminate your share of the benefits.
- Doesn’t explain how your remarriage might affect your benefits.
- Doesn’t explore unusual legal requirements or loopholes that could result in the pension order being rejected by the plan administrator.
- Doesn’t have the proposed pension order pre-approved by the plan before being sent to court.
- Doesn’t follow up to make sure that the final pension order is sent to the plan and officially accepted.
- Doesn’t explain your rights to Social Security benefits.
Avoid some of these mistakes by asking for information yourself. Don’t wait for the attorney to tell you.