Everyone knows that divorce has a rather massive impact on life. From the relationship itself to all of the financial changes, divorce affects most everything, including your retirement.
Granted, you may not actually be at your retirement yet, but if you are planning for it divorce will still have an effect on it, and not a necessarily beneficial one.
As you probably already know, marriage offers a great many benefits when it comes to money. Taxes, pensions, your 401k plan: if it has to do with finances, chances are a divorce will impact it. The most important thing to understand about divorce and your retirement is the fact that the majority of the property you own by the time you divorce is marital property. It does not belong entirely to you, and when you divorce it will be split between you and your spouse.
Now, this is not to say that absolutely everything you own will be divvied up between you. For instance, if there is property that you owned before getting married, that property is still yours (provided you didn’t decide to make it shared at some point during the marriage). But chances are that you’ve been married for a decent length of time, and if that’s true most of the property you own will have to be divided between you and your spouse.
This is one of the biggest impacts a divorce can have on your retirement. After all, a lot of your property value will be lost. That said, it is also not guaranteed that your property will be divided evenly either. Based on the situation or simply who has a better lawyer, you or your divorcing spouse could get a larger percentage of the marital property. That said, having a good lawyer on your side always helps in legal situations, especially when it comes to getting the best deal you can.
The same can be said for pension. If one spouse earned a pension through their job and the other spouse has no part in it, the pension can either be divided, or it can be awarded entirely to the spouse who earned it, but only if the other spouse gets property of equal value.
As for social security, the couple must have been married for ten years in order to lay some claim to the social security of his or her spouse. This time frame is extremely specific: if you have been married for nine and a half years or nine years and eleven months, you will not be able to avail yourself of the Social Security benefits of your spouse. For that reason, it is often considered a good idea to wait to divorce if you absolutely must: or try to get it over with quickly if that ten year milestone has yet to pass and you want those benefits to remain yours alone. Either way, divorce has a mostly negative effect on retirement planning, and a good lawyer can make
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Allison Williams, Esq.
Allison Williams, founder of The Williams Law Group is a leading attorney in the area of DYFS defense and DCPP defense. Ms. Williams is a thought leader who specializes in child advocacy, child abuse and child neglect cases and has brought many changes and updates to the child welfare branch of law.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.
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