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Ohio Domestic Relations Courts Divide Retirement Plans

Ohio Domestic Relations Courts Divide Retirement Plans

Ohio domestic relations courts divide retirement plans, starting with the divorce decree.  First, the domestic relations court must determine who is entitled to what portion of retirement benefits.  Retirement benefits accumulated during the marriage are marital assets, and must be divided as part of an equitable division of property.  Equitable division means a fair division of property.

Ohio Domestic Relations Courts Divide Retirement Plans For Different Types Of Benefits

Courts consider a number of different retirement plans:


  • Federal public retirement plans, including: Civil Service Retirement System, Federal Employees Retirement System, Federal Thrift Savings Plan, Railroad Retirement Benefits, Military Benefits, and Social Security.
  • Ohio State Retirement Plans, including: State Teachers Retirement System, Public Employees Retirement System, Police and Firemen Retirement System, and Deferred Compensation Plans.
  • Private plans provided by an employer, including: 401(k) plans and defined benefit plans.  A defined benefit plan is a pension plan.
  • Plans created by individuals, including: IRAs, Roth IRAs, Self-Employed Retirement Plan.

Ohio Domestic Relations Courts Divide Retirement Plans By Looking At The Plan Details

Plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs can be valued by looking at the current statements.  Pension plans are valued by determining the present value, usually by using an expert.  Contributions prior to the marriage and any appreciation from such premarital contributions constitute separate property and are not subject to division.  Again, an expert is usually used to determine what portion of the retirement plan is separate property.  Social security benefits must be considered when dividing public plans.  This is important because a spouse who earns and contributes to a public retirement plan does not contribute to or earn social security benefits during that time.

Ohio Domestic Relations Courts Divide Retirement Plans With A QDRO Or A DOPO

How are retirement plans divided?  Usually, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is used to divide a retirement plan.  Ohio State retirement plans are divided with Ohio’s Division of Property Order forms (DOPO).  Failure to use such forms can result in negative tax consequences.

Like This Article?  More Articles By Attorney Daniel Gigiano.

To read more, click on the following links to my other articles on property division, divorce and dissolution: personal property and real estate division for unmarried couples in Ohiopersonal property and real estate division in Ohio divorces, and evaluating and dividing a business in an Ohio divorce,  retirement benefit issues in an Ohio divorce.

Attorney Daniel Gigiano.  Aggressive And Knowledgeable Family Law Lawyer.

Attorney Daniel Gigiano is a Wadsworth Divorce Attorney who regularly practices as a Medina Divorce Attorney litigating the division of retirement benefits in Medina County Domestic Relations Court, as well as other local domestic relations courts.  If you have questions about this or other questions you  need answered by an experienced divorce attorney, please call Attorney Daniel F. Gigiano at 330-336-3330.

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