Since Ohio is an equitable division state, there is a chance that your spouse may receive a portion of your retirement savings in a divorce settlement. Generally speaking, any contributions that were made during the course of the marriage are considered to be a joint asset regardless of who actually owns the account. The same may be true of any appreciation that takes place within a retirement account while you’re still married.
You may be able to retain the full value of an IRA or 401(k)
Your spouse may allow you to retain total ownership of a retirement account in exchange for total ownership of other joint assets. It isn’t uncommon for individuals to waive their right to a percentage of a 401(k) in favor of keeping a family home. If your partner owns a business, he or she may release his or her claim to your retirement savings in exchange for remaining the majority owner of the company.
What happens to contributions made before the wedding?
Any contributions that you made to a retirement account prior to getting married are usually considered separate property. Therefore, it may be a good idea to keep copies of any account statements that you received before the marriage became official. This will make it easier to determine which portion of your savings isn’t subject to property division laws.
A prenuptial agreement might protect your financial future
It may be possible to use a prenuptial agreement to classify all of your retirement savings as a separate asset. An attorney may be able to review such an agreement before it goes into effect to maximize the chances that it will be upheld by a judge.
A lawyer may also be able to provide more information about the impact a divorce might have on your financial future. Your attorney could review tax returns, bank statements or other documents to determine if you might be entitled to alimony, child support payments or other financial resources from your spouse.