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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Itkin, CDFA

How to Divide One Spouse's 401(k) Fairly in Divorce

Some of the most challenging types of assets to divide in divorce are retirement accounts. One common example is the 401(k) account.

A 401(k) may be partially marital property and partially separate property which means splitting it in half may not be fair to the employee-spouse. To complicate matters, a 401(k) will have a different value during settlement negotiations than in the future when the funds are ultimately divided and distributed.

The type of divorce -- whether mediated or litigated -- may also have an impact on how the account is divided.

If you had a 401(k) account before marriage and added to it during the marriage, you will find this 12-minute video informative. If you live in California and continued to contribute to your 401(k) after you separated from your spouse you will also find this video helpful.

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. She is a member of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners and is certified by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.

Scott Levin is a California-based divorce mediator and the founding partner at



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