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Divorce: Is retaining your full 401k the best decision?

As you enter divorce proceedings, you should prepare for a certain degree of give-and-take in order to reach a divorce agreement in a timely manner.

Having a plan regarding what you are willing to compromise on can be beneficial.

You may think you are unwilling to concede on the division of your 401k. Yet fighting to retain its full value is something you may want to reconsider.

Fighting for the full amount

Contributions made to your 401k during your marriage are subject to property division. That said, if you want to keep the full amount, you may do so by offering to relinquish your stake in another marital asset of equal value.

Your spouse will need to agree to this proposal, so presenting it in a manner that highlights how it benefits them may make them more agreeable to it.

What is in your best interests?

Yet before pressing to keep your full 401k, you should consider what is in your overall best interests. If you are approaching the age of retirement (and losing a portion of your 401k might significantly impact your retirement plans), then trying to retain the full amount might be best for you.

If you are many years from retirement, you should know the court appraises your spouse’s portion of the contributions are their potential future value (factoring in interest and investment returns). This may mean you giving up much more than you initially planned to keep your full 401k.