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Individuals may be concerned about what happens to their pension plans or other retirement accounts when they file for a divorce. Some people believe that, because the account is in their own name and comes from the fruits of their labor, the pension doesn’t have to be shared with their spouse upon finalizing a divorce. However, pensions and other retirement accounts are considered marital property subject to division in a divorce.

Illinois family law considers pension plans an asset of the marriage. If you and your spouse each have a pension or retirement account of equal value, it is possible that each of you can maintain your own accounts separate and apart from the other. Family courts have established that all retirement accounts created during the marriage, whether vested or matured, are treated as marital property. Further, if a pension is established prior to the marriage it will be considered nonmarital property.

Illinois does not necessarily divide pensions equally but treats them the same as every other asset in a marriage which requires an equitable division. Legally speaking, your spouse is generally entitled to half of the assets generated during the marriage. However, Illinois is an equitable distribution state and therefore this doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split. Additionally, if you and your spouse reach an agreement that you will each retain your retirement accounts in your name only, you can incorporate that into the marital settlement agreement. If you have any further questions regarding your pension during your divorce, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.