What Happens To 401k/Retirement Accounts In A Divorce?

I want to discuss with you what happens with a retirement account or a 401k account and how that may be involved in your divorce or legal separation or even in post-decree matter.

A post-decree matter means that you’ve already gone to court. You have had a judge enter a decree or a legal separation or a decree of dissolution of marriage, and in that decree of dissolution of marriage, one of the parties or both of the parties had IRAs and retirement counts or a 401k that had to be divided. And in a post-decree case, most often what we see is that somebody has not done what they’re supposed to do.

As an example, let’s say that IRA accounts were to be divided 50/50 in the divorce and husband had a $200,000 IRA account and he was supposed to give wife half, or 100,000 of that and he didn’t do that. And you want to go back to court to enforce those orders. That’s a post-decree issue.

In the typical divorce case, where there are 401k or retirement accounts, the court is going to divide those accounts down the middle. That’s pretty much what you can expect. Even though there is no law that says that the court has to divide everything 50/50, generally speaking, a marriage of any kind of length, four or five, six years or longer, a court is going to take into account who’s contributed to the 401k and whether or not that was a contribution made over the course of the marriage, and that’s how it’s going to be divided.

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