Once a uncontested separation is filed, can the spouse change the beneficiaries for annuity, 401k’s and life insurance?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Once a uncontested separation is filed, can the spouse change the beneficiaries for annuity, 401k’s and life insurance?

I have been married for 2 years and the money put into these accounts are from my earnings prior to our marriage.

Asked on June 19, 2016 under Family Law, Virginia


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The best answer is "it depends."  If the court has issued any kind of order (standing order or temporary order), then the spouse would potentially be violating that order should they transfer without the permission of the court. 
Even without a court order, most employers will not change beneficiaries during a divorce action.  To prevent it from happening, then you need to send a copy of the decree to the employer or any providers so they know that any transfer could be considered fraudulent. 

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