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Can you keep your 401k?

| Jul 8, 2019 | Property Division |

As you enter into your divorce proceedings in Southport, you likely have already resigned yourself to the fact that you will likely lose (or at least see your ownership diminish in) some assets. You may not be ready, however, to include your 401k amongst them. While the contributions made to your retirement account during your marriage do come from marital income, they still came as a result of your individual effort. Thus, your desire to not divide them with your ex-spouse is understandable. There may even be a way for you to keep the entirety of your 401k account in your divorce settlement. 

The 401k Help Center suggests that if you want to retain your full 401k, you should consider giving up another asset to your spouse in exchange. The asset you relinquish your claim over, however, must be of comparable value. Finding such an asset may be more difficult than it sounds due to the complexities of trying to estimate exactly how much your 401k will be worth when you reach the age of retirement. 

First, you need to estimate how much will be in your 401k when you retire. The firm managing your 401k may be able to help with this by offering projections as to how much you might expect to earn in investments and interests on top of your contributions. Once you have this estimate, you then need to subtract the amount you expect to pay in tax when those deferred taxes come due. This will give you the overall value of the account. 

Keep in mind that this estimate could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Convincing your spouse to forgo their claim to their share may require you to give up yours to similarly significant asset (like your interest in your marital home).