Divorce and your retirement accounts

by | May 8, 2020 | Divorce

When you face the end of your marriage, you likely have concerns about your financial future. How will your assets be divided? What kind of impact will your divorce have on your savings? How can you enter a new, single life with a strong financial foundation? While many of these questions are about immediate financial concerns, you should also consider the impact that divorce can have on your retirement savings.

Retirement savings are a major concern at any age.

While some may think that retirement savings are primarily a concern for older couples, the fact is that divorce at any age can impact your financial future. Depending on your age and the length of your marriage, your divorce could impact your IRA, the pension earned in your job, and your social security benefits. Dividing this property now can leave you with less now and make it difficult to rebuild your savings for the future.

Retirement savings in California can be divided as a part of community property.

California is a community property state, meaning that the assets you acquire during your marriage are considered jointly owned and will be equally divided if you divorce. This can make retirement savings and pension plans an especially complex asset because, for many people, their career lasts much longer than their marriage. This means that a portion of your retirement savings could be considered community property, but only the portion that you saved between your marriage and the day that you separated from your spouse.

Can you protect your retirement savings?

One of the best ways to protect retirement savings is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These agreements allow you to detail which assets—including your retirement savings—are your sole property. If you want to protect your savings, it can be a good idea to put a prenuptial agreement in place when you get married or considering a postnuptial agreement if you are going through a rough time in your marriage but are uncertain if divorce is the right option.

Even if you do not have an agreement in place, however, it is possible to protect your retirement savings. Your attorney can help you negotiate with your spouse to create a fair arrangement. You could, for example, agree that you will keep your pension plan or IRA in exchange for your spouse receiving another valuable asset.

If you are concerned about the state of your retirement savings, it can be important to speak to an attorney about protecting your financial health during your divorce. You can, through a careful legal strategy, protect your financial health today and your savings for tomorrow.