How divorce affects retirement savings

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2019 | High Asset Divorce

As a couple goes through the divorce process in Texas, they have many things to think about. If they are parents, there are questions of custody that need to be addressed. If they are homeowners, they need to resolve questions about property division. During the divorce process, it is easy to be focused on the here and now and the emotions that divorce kicks up. However, divorcing individuals also need to think about their future, particularly how the financial decisions they are making now will affect them when they reach retirement.

A mistake that many make is thinking that IRAs are untouchable during the divorce process. They may think this because only one person’s name appears on the IRA, but they fail to realize that anything acquired during marriage, regardless of whose name it is in, is often legally seen as marital property. If a person accesses the money in their IRA before they are 59.5 years of age, they are going to have to pay a penalty. This should be factored in when determining what assets will be retained post-divorce.

Another area where retirement income could be affected by divorce is with a pension. It could be that just one of the two spouses earned a pension at their job. However, this does not mean that this money is off-limits to the other spouse; a person’s pension is usually subject to division during divorce. The laws vary depending on the state where the divorce takes place. In many cases, the portion of the pension earned during marriage is seen as a marital asset.

A family law attorney may represent their client in divorce proceedings. They may advise their client on shared accounts and laws pertaining to property division and asset valuation. An attorney may also serve as a source of guidance to their client on other practical matters that arise during the divorce process.