When we decide to marry our partner, we sign on for a presumably lifelong commitment. We agree to co-mingle our belongings, needs, activities and goals for the future. Our lives can become so blended together that it seems impossible to distinguish between the two.
Until that is, someone opts to file for a divorce. Whether the separation is mutually agreed upon or one party is blindsided, the conversations about how to divide up the accumulated property will likely bring up some sore spots. When looking to the future, you might wonder what happens to your retirement fund during the property division proceedings?
Illinois is an equitable distribution state
As an equitable distribution state, Illinois courts will take many factors into consideration when dividing marital property. They will look at things such as the highest level of education obtained, current income and future earning potential, custody agreements (if applicable) and more. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement or some other legally binding agreement amicably created between you and your ex, you may be at the mercy of the courts when it comes to property division.
In general, marital property includes everything that is acquired by either party from the moment they legalize their marriage until the moment they legalize their divorce. That includes material goods, property, cash, debts and even investment funds such as a 401k or individual retirement account.
If you acquired your 401k or pension after you became married, or even if you started it before the marriage but have contributed to it with income generated during the marriage, your ex may be entitled to a portion of your retirement savings. Working with someone familiar with marital property division may be your best support in safeguarding your financial interests post-divorce.