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Retirement, Pensions, and Investment Accounts in Divorce

Retirement, Pensions, and Investment Accounts in Divorce


Retirement accounts, pensions and investment accounts are often among the largest and most significant assets at issue in a divorce proceeding.  Generally, all vested and non-vested benefits and funds accumulated during the marriage in retirement, pensions, profit-sharing, annuities, and insurance plans are considered marital property and subject to division during a divorce proceeding. Many accounts will be easily identified as marital property and divided with little difficulty, while others may be much more complicated due to difficulties in determining the value of accounts that are not yet payable or ambiguous wording in a prenuptial agreement. Stock options, for example, are defined as marital or non-marital depending on whether they reward past versus future performance.

In many cases, one or both spouses have 401(K) and IRA accounts which were in existence prior to the marriage but still received contributions during the marriage. In these situations, stock brokers with appropriate expertise are engaged to determine the present value of the pre-marital component of the account to make sure that component is set aside as the owner spouse’s non-marital property.

Pensions and retirement accounts are often divided in divorce cases. Assuming the division is done pursuant to a final judgment of dissolution of marriage and subsequent qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), then the division is non-taxable and without penalty to either party.

The attorneys at Rice Law Firm have experience with complicated marital property issues, including complex retirement and investment accounts. Contact them to discuss how to best protect your interests and your financial security.

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