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How Are IRAs Divided in a Divorce?

Getting a divorce is a difficult time in many people’s lives. No matter the reason for the divorce, you may mourn the ending of the relationship. This emotional and mental toll can be exacerbated by divorce proceedings during which both you and your spouse are trying to decide how to separate your property and which asset belongs to whom.

Divorce laws in Iowa are complex, and understanding how your property may be divided can be confusing. Dividing property in Iowa after a marriage can be tedious, with both you and your spouse staking your claim to what you believe is your separate property and what you believe you are owed from the marital property. A skilled Iowa divorce attorney can help you navigate these murky waters and help you get your fair share of the marital assets in your divorce.

IRA account

How Are IRAs Divided in a Divorce?

You and your spouse may have had your own property when you first met and decided to get married. You both may have acquired property together during your marriage. Part of the difficulty in divorce is now separating your property. Property is anything that can be bought or sold. Not only does property include homes and cars, but it also includes businesses, pensions, and retirement accounts.

Some states are shared property states, meaning that in the event of a divorce, all property is divided 50/50 between spouses. Iowa, however, is an “equitable distribution” state. Any property you and your spouse had separately before your marriage and any property you both acquired during your marriage, with the exception of gifts and inheritances, is considered marital property and will be divided in a fair and equitable way.

When deciding who gets what in the divorce, including how to divide an IRA, the court will look at several factors. Your and your spouse’s income will be considered, as will the future earning capacity of both parties. Also included in the factors to be reviewed in your divorce case will be the value of all property the two of you own.

For example, an equitable division might be that a spouse with a high income is awarded the home and car in the divorce, and a higher portion of the family IRA is awarded to their spouse. Fair and equitable division refers to the fair distribution of the value of all property, not equal distribution. Any portion of the IRA that was earned prior to the marriage and any that was earned after marriage is considered marital property.

In order to divide an IRA without adverse tax consequences, you’ll need a court order known as a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). The QDRO could be part of a divorce decree or part of a domestic relations order about child support or marital property rights.

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Why Choose Us?

At Arenson Law Group, PC, we believe in being innovative and progressive in our approach to the law and how we represent our clients. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in business and corporate law matters, real estate, estate planning, litigation, and many family law matters. We’ve successfully represented clients throughout Iowa in Buchanan, Jones, Black Hawk, Cedar, Johnson, Benton, and Linn counties in their legal matters.

When it comes to family law, our attorneys are committed to serving our clients. We have vast knowledge and years of experience in family law issues, including divorce and division of property. We are admitted to practice law in the state of Iowa and are members of the Iowa State Bar Association.

Contact Arenson Law Group, PC Today

Dealing with a divorce is hard enough without having to worry about how you’re going to leave your marriage with your fair share of the property you once shared with your spouse. You don’t have to go through this alone. The experienced divorce attorneys of Arenson Law Group, PC are here to represent you in your divorce and help you get what you believe you are owed.

We are committed to advocating for your best interests, and we’re compassionate about what you’re going through. Call us today at (319) 363-8199 to speak with one of our divorce attorneys about your case or contact us online.


How Are 401(k)s Divided in a Divorce?

If you’ve made the hard decision to file for a divorce or are in the beginning stages of a divorce, you probably have a million thoughts and emotions running through your head. Divorce is hard. And it’s compounded by the fact that now you and your spouse have to figure out how you’re going to divide what once belonged to both of you. From property to children, you have to decide who gets what, which child, and when. Another consideration in the divorce is how your and/or your spouse’s 401(k) is divided.

When you’re going through a divorce and are trying to figure out how to divide your or your spouse’s 401(k), you need a divorce lawyer who understands the complex division of property laws that relate to divorce. The attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC are experienced in all areas of these laws and understand how to best help you achieve your desired outcome in your divorce.

401k plan

Marital and Separate Property

Dividing property is a part of divorce that can bring fierce disagreement. Property is anything that has value — something that can be sold and bought. Property includes homes, cars, and jewelry, and also financial things like bank accounts, stock portfolios, and retirement benefits.

You and your spouse may have entered the marriage with property that each of you had already acquired. In Iowa, once you get married, everything that had prior to the marriage and everything that you acquire after the marriage becomes shared property between the two of you. That shared property will have to be divided between you in your divorce. This is known as equitable distribution (inheritance and personal gifts are excluded from shared property).

Your or your spouse’s 401(k) may be more valuable than much of your other property. You both have worked hard for years to earn it. Because it is so valuable, you likely want to retain as much of your 401(k) as possible and be sure you are given your fair share of what you are owed. The value and importance of 401(k)s are why dividing them in a divorce requires a completely separate court order, called a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). Whatever you earned in your 401(k) prior to your marriage and what you continued to earn while married will be divided between you and your spouse.

The division of the marital property portion of your or your spouse’s 401(k) will be considered with the division of other property between you two. For instance, if the value of such property awarded to your spouse is equal to the amount of the 401(k), the court may award the entire 401(k) to you. The goal is for there to be a fair and equitable distribution of all property held between you two. A common method some spouses use when dividing their 401(k)s is to roll the portion of their 401(k) owed to their spouse into another 401(k) account for their spouse. When 401(k)s are divided in a divorce, you typically do not have to bear the tax penalty that occurs when you withdraw from your 401(k) before retirement age.

Why Choose Arenson Law Group, PC?

The attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC are committed to providing progressive legal representation to all of our clients. We’re skilled and experienced in representing Iowans throughout Linn, Benton, Johnson, Cedar, Black Hawk, Jones, and Buchanan counties in many of their legal matters. We’ve represented clients in legal issues ranging from business law, corporate law, automotive dealer law, real estate law, estate planning, and litigation to family law, including divorce, alimony, child custody and visitation, and child support issues. We have built a reputation based on hard work and commitment to every single one of our clients, and their words reflect that.

Our attorneys have been practicing law for decades. We are members of the Iowa State and American Bar Associations and are admitted to practice in numerous state, federal and appeals courts. We have decades of experience in business and corporate law and years of experience in family law, helping protect the rights of our clients and helping them reach favorable outcomes for their legal issues. We’ve been named one of the Best Divorce Lawyers in 2021 by Expertise.com.

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Contact Us Today

When you’re facing the challenging road of divorce, you need a lawyer who can advocate for your best interests and support you during this difficult time. The divorce lawyers at Arenson Law Group, PC are exactly who you need to represent you. We will work tirelessly in our advocacy for you. Call us today at (319) 363-8199, or contact us online to discuss your divorce case with one of our attorneys and see how we can best help you.


Can I have my Maiden Name Back After Divorce?

When a couple is getting divorced, it is not uncommon for the person who changed their last name at the time of marriage to decide they would like to return to their previous or maiden name. If a person is changing their name in a divorce proceeding, there is no extra fee. If the person is the petitioner (person petitioning the court for a divorce), they should let their attorney know that they would like to change their name. In the petition for dissolution, the attorney will state that the person would like to be returned to their previous or maiden name. The Iowa Code states that a person can be returned to their maiden name or the name on their birth certificate. A person may also return to the name they had immediately before getting married.

If you are the respondent in a divorce (person who is responding to a divorce petition), then it’s important that you also let the court know if you want to return to a previous or maiden name in your answer to the divorce petition.

If you have begun a divorce action, or if you have been served a divorce petition, it’s important to let your attorney know whether or not you’d like to keep your married name or be returned to a prior name as early as possible in the proceedings.

Once the divorce is finalized, you will need to obtain a certified copy of your divorce decree in order to get a new social security card and driver’s license.

If you have other questions about name changes, Arenson Law Group is here to serve your needs. Please call or email Arenson Law Group, PC today for a free initial consultation at (319) 363-8199.


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