In any divorce case, one of the primary issues willl likely be the division of property. While the couple’s marital home may be the largest asset, another important asset for many couples is retirement accounts. In the recent case of one Riverside County couple, their April 2010 divorce order gave the wife a portion of the husband’s 401(k) account. The case focused upon what should happen to the gains and losses from that portion of funds when that money wasn’t immediately segregated in the wife’s name. Issues like these highlight how almost any divorce case can contain many subtleties and complexities that can benefit from the detailed knowledge of a skilled California divorce attorney.
The case involved a husband and wife who separated in 2009 after 17 years of marriage. The couple’s divorce was finalized in the spring of 2010 and included a marital settlement agreement. Among other terms, the settlement agreement awarded to the wife the sum of $113,000 from the funds contained within a 401(k) retirement account.
Several years later, all of the money, including the wife’s $113,000, was still in the husband’s 401(k). The wife then went to court to ask that, in addition to the original $113,000, she receive whichever gains and losses had accumulated in the intervening time period. The husband opposed this request, arguing that the original order gave the wife no right to gains and losses, but only the exact lump sum stated. Giving gains to the wife would be an improper modification of the original order, he contended.