Can My Spouse Take My Retirement In An Illinois Divorce?

older couple signing divorce papers

The division of assets is one of the most complicated yet important steps of the divorce process. This is when a married couple’s shared property is legally split between both spouses, and the decision can be made by a judge or by the spouses themselves. In Illinois, any assets that were acquired during a marriage are considered marital property. Assets acquired before marriage are considered to be each spouse’s separate property. Many spouses just beginning the divorce process wonder if retirement plan funds are included in the division of assets. The good news is that our knowledgeable law firm has all the answers you’re looking for! Read on to learn more about this topic, or feel free to speak with a Tazewell County Retirement Assets Lawyer for individualized legal counseling.


A spouse’s retirement plan (such as a 401(k) or IRA) is considered marital property if the spouse began saving funds during their marriage. This means that your spouse’s or your retirement plan could be divided between both parties during the divorce process. Spouses can decide on how the assets are divided themselves by hiring a divorce mediator or attorney to help them reach a reasonable agreement. If the spouses can’t come to an agreement on their own, a judge might need to decide the arrangements for them. Illinois courts use an equitable distribution model for asset division during a divorce. This means that the couple’s marital assets must be divided fairly but not necessarily 50/50 based on a long list of factors.


In most cases, you’ll need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to divide a retirement plan between divorcing spouses. A QDRO is essentially a court order that is used to easily split the assets in a divorcing spouse’s retirement plan. Without a QDRO, you might not be able to successfully divide the retirement funds because the legal document ensures that you won’t face extra tax consequences or other penalties during this process. If you’re planning on dividing a retirement account in a divorce, you should speak a lawyer who can help you to determine your best options.

Are you considering filing for divorce in Illinois? If so, you might be seeking a trusted divorce attorney who can guide you through this difficult process. Thankfully, our highly experienced legal team is on your side every step of the way! Contact Butler, Giraudo & Meister today for an initial consultation.

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