How Do I Protect My 401(k) in a New York Divorce?

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Generally, when a couple divorces, they generally have access to a marital share of retirement accounts. However, many individuals rely on these savings to financially support themselves when they are no longer employed. As such, it’s crucial to understand how you can protect your retirement plan during a divorce to ensure your financial security. Please continue reading to learn how to protect a 401 (k) in a New York divorce and how a knowledgeable Suffolk County Marital Property Attorney can help protect your financial assets. 

How Are 401 (k)s Split During a New York Divorce?

Firstly, a 401 (k) plan is a workplace retirement plan that allows you to make annual contributions up to a specific limit and invest that money. Essentially, it will enable employees to defer receiving a portion of their salary, which is instead contributed on their behalf, before taxes to their plan.

In New York, marital assets are subject to equitable distribution. This means any assets accumulated during the marriage must be divided fairly, considering the circumstances of the case and the parties involved. Ultimately, any funds contributed to the 401 (k) account during the marriage are considered marital property and would be subject to division. If one spouse has significantly more savings than the other, the court could order the spouse with more savings to give a portion to the other. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you must liquidate your 401 (k) and provide it for your ex.

Nevertheless, dividing retirement accounts is typically one of couples’ most complex issues. It’s important to understand that some retirement accounts can only be divided with a particular order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This allows the non-employee spouse a share of the plan benefits.

How Can I Protect the Funds in My Retirement Accounts?

Constructing a prenuptial agreement is the most effective way to protect your 401(k) benefits. A prenuptial agreement can include provisions that explicitly address how the assets and debts will be divided between spouses should the marriage end. It’s important to understand that it may be possible during negotiations to offer something else to your ex in exchange for the funds from your 401 (k).

Divorces take an emotional and financial toll. As such, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of a dedicated Suffolk County divorce & separation attorney who can help you understand your legal options. At The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C., we are prepared to help you safeguard your assets. Contact our legal team to learn how we can effectively represent your interests.

Why choose our firm?

We have an excellent AVVO rating from our many happy clients

We will tirelessly pursue a favorable resolution to your case

We offer aggressive and effective representation

We treat our clients with the compassion, patience, and respect that they deserve

We have more than 20 years of dedicated legal experience

We have the legal knowledge necessary to help you obtain the outcome you desire

We tailor our practice to the representation of your divorce case

What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

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