Case Study: Marital assets

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Facts: Sam, an employee of a major national corporation, had a retirement account through the company which he opened five years before he was married. He continued to contribute through the 15 years of his marriage. When he initiated divorce proceedings he wanted to know if the retirement account remained his property.

Action: The question was whether his first five years of pre-marital retirement contributions were deemed to be marital property subject to 50/50 distribution because the account is “passive” in nature – meaning it just grows on its own with no one doing anything to it.

Result: The entire account, except for his contributions during the first five years before he was married, was divided 50-50.

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