Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that in a divorce, the courts will make a decision that intends to distribute assets fairly, not necessarily equally.
For divorcing couples over the age of 50, this can represent a snag in the proceedings, because older couples married for many years have usually accumulated significant assets. More assets make for more complex distribution.
More of everything
If you and your spouse have spent most of your lives together, you simply have more of everything: assets, debts and likely retirement accounts that you have worked hard to build up over the years. Retirement funds are a type of marital property and, as part of your divorce agreement, are subject to division just like your bank accounts. However, if you have a 401(k) plan, a tax-free pension or a similar type of retirement account, equitable division requires a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, commonly known as a QDRO (“Quadro”).
How the QDRO works
The QDRO instructs the plan administrator how much to pay the spouse who is not a company or organization employee as his or her share of the retirement account or pension. An attorney will draft the QDRO, and the judge will sign it upon the finalization of the divorce.
Protecting your rights
According to statistics compiled by the National Center for Family and Marriage, the divorce rate for couples over 50 has risen to double what it was 20 years ago, and many people are splitting up just before retirement. If you are a member of this group and are concerned about the division of your assets, including your retirement accounts, you can rely on legal assistance to see you through this difficult and often perplexing time in your life. An experienced family law attorney will see to protecting your rights when it comes to equitable property distribution according to Illinois law.