This is a complicated question. There’s no action that you can take that will guarantee that you get to keep every cent of your retirement account.
However, there may be things that you can do to keep more of your retirement account.
Retirement accounts are often mixed property.
Retirement accounts are often a mix of marital and non-marital property. This can help you keep more of your retirement account when assets are divided.
Though there are situations where the court will award a portion of non-marital property to the spouse (up to ½) it seldom happens.
So if you can prove that a portion of your retirement account is non-marital property you may keep more of that money. To do this you will have to gather all of your financial records, and you may need to consult with an accountant.
Make it a priority.
If your retirement assets are your biggest priority, ask yourself what you’re willing to give up in order to keep all, or most, of that money. You may be able to put together and offer an equitable distribution package that your spouse will accept. Consult your attorney for help with this.
Make sure the accounts are valued correctly.
It’s really important for you to make sure that the accounts are valued correctly if you want to protect your investments. Those valuations will be different depending on whether you are dealing with an IRA, a pension, or a 401(K)-type account. A 401K/403B or IRA is far more straightforward than a pension, keeping in mind there is a difference between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. Pensions should be valued by an actuary who specializes in valuing pensions in divorces.