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A third of divorcees miss a huge financial benefit

What do you think your most valuable asset is? Your home? The vacation house on the coast? The money you have in your bank account?

All of those things can be incredibly valuable. If you're getting divorced, though, you may have an even more valuable asset that a lot of people overlook: your spouse's pension.

Did you think that only the person who earned the pension had a right to it? That seems to be a lot of people's opinion, but the reality is that retirement benefits are often considered a marital asset. Using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), you may be able to secure a portion of the pension that was earned while the two of you were married. After all, had you stayed married, you both would have used that pension after retirement.

If you did not know that was an option, do not feel bad. Many people don't. One study asked 546 people who were married for at least a decade and then got divorced if they had tried to get part of a pension owned by a spouse.

A full 31 percent, or roughly a third, said they did not know they could do so and they let it slide by during the divorce. Around 25 percent of the people in the study said that they wished that while they were splitting up they would have known more.

As you can see, it is very important to fully understand the complexities of the divorce process. Make sure you know about all of the legal options you have.

Source: Next Avenue, "The Big Money Mistake Divorcing Women Make," Kerry Hannon, accessed April 12, 2018

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