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What will happen to my 401(k) plan?

Although there are many types of retirement plans out there, many if not most people in the Saint Louis area have what is called a defined contribution plan like their employer's 401(k) plan.

As the name implies, an employee is free to make contributions into an investment fund that, in theory, will yield a return at a generous rate. These contributions have tax advantages and, in many cases, get partially matched dollar for dollar, up to a certain percentage of one's salary, by the employer.

If left untouched, the value of these plans can grow to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars as the years go on.

Not surprisingly, since they often constitute a big chunk of a family's financial resources, they are a contentious topic during a divorce or legal separation. As with any other property, family law courts in the Saint Louis area will divide a 401(k) in an equitable manner, which may or may not be 50-50. Moreover, in some situations, one spouse may argue that some, or even all, of his or her 401(k) should be exempt from the property division process.

On a practical level, dividing a 401(k) is not simply a matter of writing up a divorce decree. One party will likely have to prepare and submit a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, to the administrator of the 401(k) plan so that proceeds can be split without adverse tax consequences. Doing this will require skill and attention to legal details, as the costs of not completing this step properly can be high.

A property division involving a 401(k) or other type of retirement plan can be complicated, and it is important to a person's legal and financial interest that this step of the process be handled with due professional care.

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  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
  • West County: 16024 Manchester Rd., Suite 103, Ellisville, MO 63011: Ellisville Office
  • Jackson County: 256 NE Tudor Rd., Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086: Lee's Summit Office
  • Jefferson County: 16 Municipal Drive, Suite C, Arnold, MO 63010: Arnold Office
  • St. Charles County: 2268 Bluestone Drive, St. Charles, MO 63303: St. Charles Office
  • Franklin County: 5 S. Oak St. Union, MO 63084: Union Office
  • Lincoln County: 20 Centerline Drive, Troy, Missouri 63379: Troy Office
  • Boone County: 1506 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite H, Columbia, MO 65203: Columbia Office
  • Greene County: 901 E. St. Louis, Suite 404, Springfield, Missouri 65806: Springfield, MO Office
  • St. Clair County: 115 Lincoln Place Ct., Ste. 101, Belleville, IL 62221: Belleville Office
  • Madison County: 25 Professional Park, Suite B, Maryville, Illinois 62062: Maryville Office
  • Sangamon County: 400 S. 9th St., Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701: Springfield Office
  • McLean County: 1012 Ekstam Drive, Suite 4, Bloomington, IL 61704: Bloomington Office
  • Johnson County: 7300 West 110th Street, Suite 560, Overland Park, KS 62210: Overland Park Office
  • Sedgwick County: 2024 N. Woodlawn Street, Suite 407, Wichita, Kansas 67208: Wichita Office
  • Shawnee County: 800 SW Jackson Street, Suite 812, Topeka, Kansas 66612: Topeka Office
  • Tulsa County: 6660 S. Sheridan Road, Suite 240, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133:  Tulsa Office
  • Oklahoma County: 2601 NW Expressway, Suite 411 W, Oklahoma City, OK 73112 (opens 2/20):  Oklahoma City Office
  • Monroe County: 116 W. Mill St., Waterloo, IL 62298 (by appt. only): Waterloo Office
  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
  • Jackson County: 2300 Main St., #948, Kansas City, MO 64108 (by appt. only): Kansas City Office

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