Retirement is something most working adults look forward to enjoying. No matter how much you love your career, the demands of a job take away from your enjoyment of daily life and your closest relationships. The higher your standard of living, the greater the expectations you likely have for your golden years.
Throughout your marriage, you and your spouse have probably set aside substantial resources to support yourselves after you retire. Now that you find yourself thinking about divorce or have received service with divorce paperwork from your spouse, your retirement plans may seem far less certain than they once were.
You already know that you will likely have to split your assets and diminish what you have to pay for retirement expenses while simultaneously starting to pay household expenses on your own. What are some of the ways you can protect your retirement when you divorce?
Claim your fair share of the retirement account
Unless you have a marital agreement separating your retirement savings, the chances are good that some of the balance of the retirement account in your spouse’s name is marital property, which means you both share ownership. The courts can order the division of your retirement accounts with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order drafted by your attorney, helping you avoid penalties.
Look into Social Security retirement benefits
You and your spouse have probably both made contributions to Social Security that can qualify you for both disability and retirement benefits. Checking your own Social Security retirement benefits can help determine if you might also need to make a claim against your spouse’s Social Security. You can potentially receive benefits based on their income and contributions that will round out what you receive without diminishing their benefits.
Ask for spousal support
Maybe your spouse will have residual income as they age, or perhaps they have an employer-sponsored pension that you can’t divide. Asking for spousal support could be a way for you to cover your costs during retirement, especially if you have been a dependent spouse who helped take care of household and child matters throughout your spouse’s career.
Exploring all of the retirement assets accessible to you can help you create a high-asset divorce strategy that protects your desire to retire.