Bonuses, Commissions and Other Tricky Splits in Divorce

Bonuses and Commissions in Divorce
If you are getting a divorce, and you or your spouse earns bonuses or commissions, be aware that these are assets that will need to be revealed in the divorce and may be split between the parties.
Once the divorce is begun information will be shared between the parties and their attorneys about the debts and the assets of the marriage. If either party has separate property, that will be addressed as well.  When it comes to retirement benefits, it will be important to know when the benefits began to accrue, and when the marriage occurred. If the benefits began to accrue before the marriage, then some of the benefits can be separate property.   Formulae exist for determining which which portion of the retirement funds may be divisible on divorce.
Bonuses and commissions can be a difficult area because they tend to vary in amount from month to month or year to year. The basis for awarding them, or the actual “date earned” may not be immediately clear, and they may not be a sure thing. Determining a split, (if any), can be tricky.  It can also be difficult to determine how they should affect child support amounts.

In addition, there are some types of property that are not divisible on divorce. (Two examples are: Social Security Benefits and Veteran’s Administration Benefits). Certain other governmental benefits such as Railroad Retirement Benefits/Annuities have specific laws and guidelines that must be followed and are different from any other types of plan.

If you are divorcing, or if a divorce is a possibility in the near future, you cannot just assume that everything will be split down the middle.   Be sure to reveal information about bonuses and commissions (current and future) to your divorce attorney.  Also give very specific information about any retirement benefits, annuities and plans that are possessed by you and your spouse.

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