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Remembering the Most Overlooked Asset in Divorce

Posted on in Division of Assets

Naperville divorce attorneysIf you and your spouse are headed for divorce, you know that you will be expected to divide your marital property between the two of you. While you may not know for sure how that will play out, you may already be thinking about who—if either of you—will keep the marital home, who will get which car, and how to split the household furniture. In the stress and confusion of the divorce process, however, you may be forgetting about a very important—and possibly very valuable—asset of which you may be entitled a portion. Experts say that retirement accounts are the most commonly overlooked assets in a divorce case.

Retirement Savings and Plans

Before marital property can be divided, both you and your spouse should provide one another with a full accounting of all of your assets and debts, even if you think he or she already knows about them. In some cases, this may require a few calls to old employers inquiring about the status of employer-funded retirement programs or plans. You may realize that you have forgotten about a 401(k) plan or similar account that was opened years ago. The same may be true for your spouse, and the money in such accounts, depending on when the accounts were funded, may be considered part of the marital estate.

Marital or Non-Marital?

When considering a retirement account, your spouse may claim that, since his or her name is on the account, the funds are his or hers. The law, however, says otherwise. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, assets that were acquired by either spouse during the marriage are considered marital property in divorce. While there are a few exceptions, including property received by gift or inheritance, retirements accounts follow the standard guidelines. This means that any retirement contributions made during the marriage are considered marital property, regardless of the name on the account.

Of course, this makes for complex calculations in many cases. A financial professional may be required to determine the value of each portion of an account that was started prior to the marriage but was also funded with marital assets. If the account is generating interest or dividends, you will need to ensure such growth is fully accounted for as well. From there, you and your spouse—or the court—can determine how your retirement savings will affect the rest of the property division process.

Call a Skilled Attorney

For more information about retirement assets in divorce, contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Naperville. Call 630-352-2240 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C. today.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-sentell/the-1-most-overlooked-divorce-asset_b_5922022.html

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+V&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=6100000&SeqEnd=8350000

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