How Are 401k Retirement Accounts Divided In Divorce? San Diego Divorce Mediation Video Series
Attorney Mediator CDFA and Chief PeaceKeeper Scott Levin sits down with Laurie Itkin CDFA to discuss how to divide a 401k during divorce.
One of the most challenging types of assets to divide in divorce are retirement accounts, in particular 401ks, which have several problematic features. They are almost always acquired over time, which means they may be partly marital property, and partly separate property. They have a different value in the present than they will when the funds are taken out in the future. How is the appreciation handled and how do you transfer them pursuant to a divorce?
It comes as a rude shock to some people to learn that “their” 401(k) or pension isn’t exclusively “theirs,” even though they earned it as part of their job. In California, as in most other states, most assets acquired during a marriage are considered community property, no matter who earned or acquired them. This means that the 401k you’ve earned from your employer during the marriage will be considered a shared asset to be divided during your divorce mediation. But if you earned a portion of that 401k prior to marriage, then not all of it will be shared. It will need to be divided while also giving you credit for the portion earned prior to your marriage. There are so many issues in play when dividing these retirement accounts and we encourage you to watch the 12 minute video to get a sense for some of these issues.
Laurie Itkin is a financial advisor, wealth manager, and certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). She is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, Every Woman Should Know Her Options: Invest Your Way to Financial Empowerment. Investopedia named Ms. Itkin one of the top 100 most influential financial advisors in the country. Through her financial consulting company, The Options Lady, she provides divorce-related financial planning and analysis to individuals and couples throughout all stages of the divorce process. Reach Ms. Itkin at https://www.theoptionslady.com/.
Scott Levin is a renowned attorey medaitor and founding partner of San Diego Divorce Mediation.