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Dividing retirement accounts in a divorce requires help

Getting divorced can be a difficult process, especially if you and your former spouse don't agree on critical issues. Many times, child custody and visitation are contentious. You may not agree about who gets the kids on certain holidays or how to arrange vacations. Asset division can be just as complicated and frustrating. The more assets you have accumulated during your marriage, the harder the process of asset division can become. You and your former spouse probably won't agree about who gets what and how to divide the assets fairly, which can lead to a protracted divorce process.

Georgia is an equitable division state. The courts try to ensure that the division of all marital assets is fair and even between both partners. That doesn't inherently mean a 50/50 split of assets. The courts will consider issues like child custody and earning potential as well.

When it comes to more complex assets, like retirement accounts, more than just the balance of the accounts matter during the completion of the division process. Depending on your circumstances, retirement accounts could be some of the most difficult assets to divide fairly during divorce.

Both the balance and fees must be evenly split

Typically, when you divide assets during a divorce, you also divide debts and liabilities, like fines and fees. Depending on how your retirement accounts are set up, there could be financial penalties for early withdrawal of the funds. For Roth IRA and 401K accounts, there are special forms and processes which can divide the account during a divorce without incurring financial penalties. There must be a court order for the division to take place.

For employer-held pensions, the process could be more complex. You will have to determine what fees, fines and penalties you'll incur to ensure that each spouse receives a fair portion of both assets and penalties.

Typically, only investments and deposits made during the course of the marriage matter for purposes of asset division. Funds that were deposited by one spouse before the marriage will typically remain that individual's sole property. Funds deposited during the marriage, however, were part of your family's marital assets, which means they can and likely will be divided between spouses, regardless of which person was actually making deposits into the account.

An experienced attorney can help with asset division

Getting divorced without an attorney can cause a lot of issues, especially if you have a large amount of marital assets or have non-traditional assets, like retirement accounts or investment properties. You Georgia divorce and family law lawyer can help determine what is fair and advocate for the best possible outcome to your divorce and asset division process.

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Hecht Family Law
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