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A gray divorce may require a QDRO and other support arrangements

Florida couples over the age of 50 may decide to divorce and go their own separate ways before reaching retirement. With careful planning, a nonworking spouse may request alimony or financial support to provide for his or her living expenses. This may include arrangements for housing and health insurance. 

After relying upon a working spouse’s income during a marriage, a nonworking spouse may have no other means of income or support. He or she, however, has a right to receive a portion of the working spouse’s retirement plan. By requiring a qualified domestic relations order from a spouse’s employer, a family court judge may provide for disbursement of cash proceeds from a pension fund or 401(k). 

Requesting a portion of a spouse’s retirement fund through a QDRO 

Federal law requires individuals to fill out a QDRO and submit it to the court during a divorce. Depending on the amount available in the retirement fund, a soon-to-be ex-spouse may request to receive a percentage or dollar amount of its value, as reported by Kiplinger magazine. Each individual fund, however, has its own rules and maximum distribution amount. If the plan’s proceeds provide enough money for a spouse to retire on his or her own, it may result in less alimony or spousal support. 

Re-entering the workforce 

An individual may request temporary spousal support to help with his or her transition to single life. The court may determine an amount that he or she requires in order to gain self-sufficiency. A judge could order a payment arrangement that helps an ex-spouse learn new skills or find suitable employment. An ex-spouse may also require financial assistance in finding a new home and purchasing other necessary comforts. 

Requesting other means of support 

A divorced spouse has the right to receive Social Security benefits based on his or her ex-spouse’s income. Other means of support such as funds required for medical expenses and adult children with disabilities may require an order from a family court judge. 

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