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Does divorce impact retirement?

Although the financial impact of divorce must be carefully examined at any age, a recent article cautions that special retirement considerations come into play for divorce after age 50. For a grey divorce, property division is about more than splitting tangible assets.

Specifically, retirement accounts should be carefully valued. Our law firm recommends that financial assets should be valued according to their projected sustainable income. That analysis must also factor in taxes. Consequently, an account that has taxable withdrawals may be worth less than a comparable account that is only taxed for its gains. The type of tax should also be noted, such as ordinary income versus capital gains tax treatment. 

Other unvested retirement benefits, such as pensions or Social Security, should also be included in any inventory of the marital estate. For example, if an individual is 62 years of age or older and was married at least ten years, he or she may also be eligible for Social Security benefits at 50 percent of the soon-to-be former spouse’s benefit. 

Finally, post-divorce planning is also slightly different for older couples. Due to the catch-up contribution rules, individuals who are 50 years of age or older can contribute much more to their IRAs and 401(k) accounts. It may be a smart strategy to downsize one’s current living arrangements in order to free up more cash.

Our law firm focuses on divorce and estate planning. We can help older couples keep an eye on their retirement needs while successfully navigating their divorce. The goals and objectives at that age may indeed be different than younger couples, and our attorneys can offer strategic advice.

Source: Money, “Don’t Let Divorce Derail Your Retirement,” Carla Fried, March 3, 2016

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