Investments can be both a frustrating and puzzling aspect of equitable distribution in a Rhode Island Divorce. In many instances only one spouse contributed to the investment account. As a result the primary or sole contributing spouse expects that he or she is entitled to the investment account without question. Yet in the context of a divorce this expectation may lead the contributing spouse to be very disappointed. When dealing with investment issues, underlying principles of equity will override what you may perceive to be common sense.
Consider this scenario and the questions it presents.
Carrie and James have been married for seventeen (17) years. James has always been concerned about having enough money for retirement so he opened an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) when they first married and contributed the maximum amount possible annually. The IRA has accumulated to approximately $93,000.
Carrie earns a decent income and opted not to open an IRA and she declined to participate in her company's 401k plan up until the last few years because she likes to spend money on high price shoes and designer clothes. Carrie has only accumulated about $4,500 in the plan.
Carrie meets up with her old high school sweetheart. One thing leads to another and Carrie has a one night affair that James discovers abruptly when he returns home a day early from a business trip.
James files a Complaint for Divorce in Rhode Island seeking an equitable distribution of all the marital assets and debts. Carrie files a Counterclaim for Divorce also seeking an equitable distribution of all the debts and assets and specifically seeking half (1/2) of James' IRA.
James feels betrayed and believes Carrie shouldn't get any of his IRA.
When James and Carrie go before the Rhode Island Family Court will it matter:
1. That Carrie didn't contribute to James' IRA?
2. That Carrie isn't the beneficiary on the IRA in the event of James' death?
3. That Carrie's infidelity caused the breakdown of the marriage?
4. That Carrie spent all the money she earned over the years while James saved a good portion of the money he earned?
5. That James is not asking for any of Carrie's 401k?
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