Divorce in Nebraska Part III: Divorce Property Division and QDROs

June 5, 2015

There’s no getting around it: Divorce can be unpleasant and daunting. For most people, the legal process of divorce is especially foreign and scary. In our (Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Divorce series, we’ll try to take away some of that fear by answering some of the most frequently asked questions we get from our clients about divorce in Nebraska.

Divorce in Nebraska Part III: Divorce Property Division and QDROs

In part one, we answered questions about getting started with a Nebraska divorce. In part two of the series, we talked about what to expect after you file for divorce in Nebraska. For part three of our series, we are covering some divorce basics, including qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs).

Q: What is marital property?

A: Marital property is anything acquired during the marriage, unless it was inherited or gifted specifically to you or your spouse. This may seem straightforward, but it can be tricky. In some instances, if your spouse contributed to the improvement of property or paid for it after the marriage, the court may award your spouse all or part of that property or its value.

Q: How is property divided in a divorce?

A: If you and your spouse can’t agree on what each of you will take, or how much money you will receive in settlement of the property issues, the judge will decide. Your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will both present evidence at a trial and argue their case. Then, the judge will make what he or she believes is an equitable distribution of marital property, according to Nebraska law.

Keep in mind, equitable and equal are not the same.

Q: How do retirement accounts get divided in a divorce?

A: Retirement funds accrued during the marriage will likely be equitably divided between the parties.

If it’s an employer sponsored retirement program, the court will have to enter a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), which can be incorporated into the divorce decree. Under the requirements of federal law, there are steps that have to be taken to ensure that the court’s order will meet the requirements of a QDRO. Among them is approval by the retirement plan’s administrator.

Other retirement investment accounts, like individual retirement accounts (IRA), don’t require a QDRO.

Q: How long does spousal support last?

A: Spousal support (also commonly known as alimony) can be awarded if a party gave up a career during the marriage to raise children, or is unable to support himself/herself for other reasons.

In most cases these days, spousal support is rehabilitative in nature and may last for only what the judge determines is a reasonable amount of time for the spouse receiving support to get on his or her feet.

Q: Can I go back to my maiden name after the divorce?

A: Yes, but let your attorney know ahead of time so he or she can make the request in the early pleadings to avoid the time and expense of amending them later.

The name change will then be part of the final divorce decree, which can be used to change your Social Security card and driver’s license.

Next time in the series

Click here for Part IV of (Almost) Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Divorce: Child Custody and Support.

In the meantime, if you need help with a divorce, call Hightower Reff Law at 402-932-9550, or contact us online. We are experienced Omaha area attorneys who can help you through this difficult process.

This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.

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