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  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

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  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

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  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

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Rebuilding Your Retirement Fund after a Virginia Divorce


Getting a divorce can have a major impact on your retirement savings and plans. During a Virginia divorce, you are required to split all marital assets in a fair and equitable manner. This means your spouse could receive money from your 401(k), pension, or other investment funds. Even if your retirement accounts are not split, losing other valuable assets like real estate can impact your retirement plans.

Negotiate During Your Divorce

Splitting retirement accounts is tricky and can be quite complex. Perhaps you can negotiate and compromise by agreeing to let your spouse take another asset that is of similar value. Before any retirement funds can be distributed if they are part of the divorce, you need a QDRO, a qualified domestic relations order, that goes to the retirement plan administer telling them the account is being split. There may be fees from the plan administrator for QDROs as well.

If you are both around the same age and have similar balances in your retirement accounts, then try to reach an agreement that you each walk away with your respective retirement accounts intact.

Contributing More to Your 401(k) Account 

If you work for an employer that offers benefits like a 401(k) account, you’ll want to contribute as much as you can to start rebuilding your retirement fund. However, one potential problem after a spouse loses a large chunk of their retirement fund is the annual 401(k) contribution limits. For example, when you are under 50, you can contribute up to $19,000, which is up $500 from 2018. If you 50 or over, you can contribute an extra $6,000. Employer contributions are limited to $56,000 or 100% of the worker’s compensation, whichever amount is lower. For employees 50 and up, the employer limit is $62,000.

For employees who do not contribute the maximum amount, the annual limits won’t matter. This can be a good thing if you aren’t already contributing the maximum amount because it means you have the opportunity to increase it. This will help rebuild your retirement account faster, especially if your employer matches your contribution amount.

Check Beneficiaries After Divorce

One thing people often forget to do is update the beneficiaries on their accounts after a divorce. If you don’t remove your spouse from your 401 (k), he or she will still receive financial compensation. This also goes for life insurance policies and other investments like a Roth IRA.

Seek Assistance from a Financial Advisor

To get yourself back on track, you may want to seek the guidance from a financial expert.  Meet with someone who can help you chart out your goals and find out what it’s going to take to make up for the losses incurred in the divorce settlement. He or she can help with suggesting investments and what works best for your particular situation. However, be sure you retain a good financial advisor. Much like retaining the right Leesburg divorce attorney, you want a financial advisor who has a good record and is someone you feel comfortable with.

Contact a Virginia Divorce Attorney Today

If you need assistance with your divorce or have questions regarding the distribution of assets like a 401 (k) in a Virginia divorce, contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC today to schedule an initial consultation.


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Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!