Certain accounts that may be considered marital property and up for division in the context of a divorce can have fluctuating value based on the market. For example, mutual funds, stock benefits, 401ks, and annuities will reflect gains and losses that can change daily. Similar to other assets, the cut-off date for value purposes is technically the date of separation however gains and losses on that date of separation value through the date of distribution are also considered marital. This can result in a significant sum for an account with a large balance or in the instance of a lengthy separation period.
It is good practice to work with an experienced family law attorney and/or retirement division attorney or actuary to ensure you are getting an equitable distribution of these types of assets. To the extent a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is necessary, your attorney can draft/review an Order with the appropriate language to effectuate the desired distribution. A QDRO is a document that identifies the plan to be divided and gives specific details as to how that division will take place and what rights the party receiving the funds, referred to as the alternate payee, will have going forward. Failure to address the market experience can result in an unfair distribution.