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Divorce property division: dealing with retirement accounts

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2017 | Firm News, High Asset Divorce

Unquestionably, the most difficult of all tasks to focus upon and resolve for many parties in Arkansas and nationally during the divorce process is the equitable division of marital property.

And it is not hard to see why that is the case. For starters, and in select decouplings, the cumulative value of assets in play can be significant. The stakes are sometimes notably high, and divorcing couples know it.

And then there is this reality operative in many instances: the number and type — that is, the sheer variety — of wealth-related vehicles can be almost daunting in nature. For many divorcing parties, assets ranging from homes, heirlooms and valuable memorabilia collections to stocks, bonds and myriad other types of investment accounts are at center stage in property-related negotiations.

A central inclusion in that “other types of accounts” bundle is often money held — sometimes in an impressively high amount — in various company-sponsored retirement accounts. A 401(k) vehicle comes readily to mind.

As noted in a recent article on the equitable division of retirement plans in divorce, those accounts are governed by a separate set of rules and processes when it comes to any dissolution-related distribution. Although many investment accounts can be split up and/or assigned relatively easily, things are a bit more complex regarding retirement vehicles.

If those types of accounts emerge as relevant in a divorce, timely and focused input from a proven asset-division attorney might reasonably be solicited to ensure that things go properly. Requirements imposed by the IRS and pursuant to ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act) must be duly complied with, and experienced legal counsel will know how to proceed to ensure that relevant laws and processes are followed.


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