In general, there is a lot of confusion around different types of retirement accounts. Some people refer to all retirement accounts as pensions or all retirement accounts as 401Ks. Referring to retirement accounts by the wrong account type becomes problematic in divorce cases because the accounts don't all have the same rules, and they need to be correctly identified. If you are not sure which type(s) of accounts you are negotiating, contact a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA).
This post is referring specifically to how to divide a 401K in a divorce. A 401K is an employer-sponsored retirement account that is governed by ERISA. The division of a 401K in a divorce is different from how some other retirement accounts get divided. You can see some of my other posts regarding how to divide other types of retirement accounts below.
If your husband asked for a divorce, you are likely experiencing a lot of different emotions. Take a step back and breathe. It might not feel like it right now, but you are going to be okay.
The first thing you should do is start taking really good care of yourself. This may seem like a strange recommendation, but when difficult things happen in our lives, it's easy to put self-care on the back burner. This is when we need it the most!
Related Post: 30 Journal Prompts to Help You Through Your Divorce
Give yourself time to process your feelings. If you want to try to work on your relationship before moving forward with terminating the marriage, you need to be as clear-headed as possible. If your spouse is adamant that they want to end the marriage and are not interested in trying to improve things, you are going to need a clear head to make all of the big decisions that will be coming your way.
I always encourage...
I have journaled off and on since I knew how to write. Journaling helped me through some of the toughest times in my life. Whether you've journaled previously or not, the action of putting pen to paper is an extraordinarily beneficial way to improve your life. Journaling is an effortless way to change your life when it feels like nothing is going right.
When you free write, you end up writing about the things that are most important to you. They may be things that you don’t even think of as that important but looking back over your writings later will give you a strong inclination of what you find the most rewarding in your life. For example, if you find yourself coming back to the idea of starting your own business over and over again, it’s evident that it’s a dream that’s important to you. When your life is in chaos, you have less to lose, and you might decide to go for it and see what happens.
Social media has become such an important part of our lives. However, when going through a divorce, you may want to be a little more cautious. I am thrilled to welcome guest blogger, Elizabeth Billies, to share the seven don'ts of social media during a divorce.
by Guest Blogger, Elizabeth Billies, Attorney
We share our lives on social media. Birthdays, vacations, pet photos, it's all out there for the world to see. Social media posts, text messages, and emails have become the most common ways we communicate with our friends and family. So, it makes sense that if you are willing to share your latest sunset photo or what you ate for breakfast on the internet, you are also likely to share your thoughts on your divorce/breakup online as well.
However, you need to think about what you post on social media during this process. Certain social media don'ts can have a direct effect on your divorce. The last thing that you want is to...
Going through a divorce is hard but the transition doesn't end when the divorce is settled. The negotiations are over but there are still many changes to face. When you begin life after divorce, sometimes you just need a reminder that you are amazing and you can get through this. Here are 21 quotes to remind you of just that.
“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.” – Roy T. Bennett
“Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.” – Michelle Obama
"When we deny our stories, They define us. When we own our stories, we get to write the ending." – Brené Brown
"Throw us an obstacle and we grow stronger." – Brad Henry
“I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me.” – Erica Jong
“My mission in life is not merely...
You've decided you want to try mediation but you aren't sure how to ask your spouse to mediate your divorce. I get it. When your marriage is ending, and both of you are going your separate ways, it can be hard to be on the same page about anything, much less mediation. Use the following tips to help you ask (and convince) your spouse to mediate the divorce.
As with anything, preparation is critical. While you don't need to be an expert on mediation, having enough background knowledge to understand why it interests you is essential. Do some research ahead of time. You might be able to find all you need to know with a simple online search, but if you are missing information, contact a professional for those details.
Once you have the details about mediation, you must communicate carefully with your spouse. Keep in mind that you may both be reeling from the changes taking place, so this is a great time...
Change can be difficult whether you choose to make changes in your life or someone else has made that choice for you. Let's face it. Divorce changes many facets of your life and will test your ability to handle change to an extreme.
Some people struggle more than others with change. They fight it, they avoid it, fear it, and sometimes feel guilty about it. These notions would make anyone want to keep things as same as possible. One would think that only adrenaline junkies and dysfunctional people would want to disrupt what could be a perfectly normal situation for something that could be worse. Keep in mind that the situation could be better.
If you've been in an unhappy marriage, your divorce can bring about a lot of positive change in your life. I remember how real the fear was when I was going through my own divorce. I had fears about parenting and about money and about basic things like taking care of the house. As it turned out, when I committed to dealing with the changes I...
One of the hardest things to do as a divorced parent is to encourage your kids to go with your ex when they don’t want to. However, consistency is key to making those transitions easier over time. When my ex and I first separated, my youngest was a toddler. We all know how toddlers act when they're not happy. He would throw a tantrum every time he had to transition between our homes. It used to break my heart the way that he would cry and fuss.
As long as the kids aren’t avoiding going due to neglect or abuse, it's your job to encourage them to. Some children don’t do well with change, so the transition between households can be especially difficult. Keep in mind that it doesn't have anything to do with the other parent. You'll be doing your children a favor if you work to make transitioning as smooth as possible.
Use the following tips to encourage your children when...
It may or may not come as a surprise to you that a pension is frequently the most significant asset divided in a divorce. With that said, it's not a foregone conclusion that you'll have to give up a portion of your pension as part of your divorce settlement. I'm surprised by the number of cases I see in which the parties decide the pension owner will retain it in its entirety. So, how can you keep your pension in a divorce?
First, consider your overall financial picture. If you want to keep the pension and it's one of the more significant assets in your marital estate, you're likely going to be giving up other assets. What are you willing to give up in exchange for the pension?
To get a full financial picture, start by determining the value of the pension. Please note that this is not the value shown on the pension statement. A pension is valued by discounting the future benefit back to the present value. Keep in mind that only...
When I first meet with couples seeking mediation for their divorce, I find that many have the same questions. One common question is how long divorce mediation will take to complete. It's a tough question to answer since there are many factors that contribute to the completion of divorce mediation. I'll share the factors that I consider to have an impact.
Most of the divorce mediations that I handle take two to four, two-hour mediation sessions to resolve all the issues that need to be resolved. This is after we meet together for a mediation orientation session. In the orientation, I discuss the mediation process and both parties sign the agreement to mediate. Additionally, by the time we start mediation I have had the opportunity to meet with each party individually to discuss their goals and concerns. Here are the six factors that I have noticed will determine how long divorce mediation takes.