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Are teachers' pensions considered assets in a divorce?

The pain of divorce is difficult to deal with under any circumstance, but you can spare yourself a great deal of frustration if you know the law surrounding division of assets and property. This includes the division of anything considered a marital asset, and whether or not you are legally obligated to split it with your former spouse upon dissolving your marriage. As a Massachusetts teacher, what if you have retired and are now receiving pension? Do your retirement benefits count as a marital asset, and is it subject to law regarding splitting assets?

Yes, it does. According to the Massachusetts Teachers Retirement System, any pension earned while married qualifies as a marital asset in your divorce case. The time periods of the marriage and divorce impact how much of your pension is granted to your spouse upon retirement, if at all. Divorce courts may make a determination to leave your pension untouched, or grant part of it to your former spouse as part of the divorce settlement.

If your pension is split with your spouse, you will receive a Domestic Relations Order (DRO) from a judge or court. The DRO outlines complete details on how and why your pension is to be split with your divorced partner based on factors taken under consideration during the divorce hearing. Without a DRO, the organization dispensing your pension is not legally required to make allowances for your former spouse.

The details provided in this article are for informational purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice, recommendations or counsel.

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