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Can Illinois Teachers' Pensions Be Divided in a Divorce? 

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton Divorce LawyerTeaching public school is one of the most difficult jobs someone can make a career out of. Fortunately, government employees have excellent benefits, and one of these is a generous pension that is meant to last a hard-working educator throughout their retirement. 

Because pensions are considered marital assets and must be divided in a divorce, many teachers rightfully fear the consequences that getting divorced could have on their retirement plan. Does the whole thing get divided, even if you were teaching before you got married? How is the value of a fund determined? For answers to these questions, read on. 

How Will the Value of My Pension Be Determined? 

Knowing your pension’s exact value can be challenging, but there are several common methods used for determining a pension’s present worth. These include: 

  • The PBGC Actuarial and Mortality Tables Appraisal Method

  • The Life Expectancy Method

  • The GATT Method

The differences in these strategies mostly lie in the tables that are used to measure an employee’s projected lifespan. Financial experts can help you get the information you need so you can accurately and fairly negotiate your divorce. 

Is My Entire Pension a Marital Asset? 

Generally, only the portion of a pension that was earned after a marriage began is considered a marital asset. Any portion that was earned before the marriage is usually deemed personal property that a teacher is allowed to keep. However, if a couple has been married for 20 years and a teacher has been working for 18 of those years, the couple may decide to divide the entire pension to keep things simple. 

Spouses may also wait until retirement to split the value of the pension, rather than dividing it up front at the time of the finalized divorce decree. To use this option, spouses will need to utilize a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO. A QDRO is an order from an Illinois court that instructs a retirement plan caretaker to divide pension payouts according to a divorce settlement. 

Other spouses decide not to divide their pensions at all, and instead will trade other marital assets to keep their pensions intact. For example, a spouse may want to keep their entire pension and will give up their share of the marital home instead. An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can help you decide which method makes sense for you. 

Schedule an Initial Consultation with a Wheaton, IL Marital Assets Lawyer

Protecting your financial investments is a crucial part of setting yourself up for success after divorce. For help addressing this and other important parts of your divorce, schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney with The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.. We have many years of experience with even the most complex divorce cases, and we are confident we can help you. Call us today at 630-462-9500




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