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Divorce may have significant impact on retirement

Retirement is typically envisioned as a life stage during which a couple in Pennsylvania can finally enjoy some time to themselves. They no longer have to tend to the children, and getting up to go to work is no longer necessary. However, this together time is not always what married couples want if they have differences they cannot reconcile. Instead, some have divorce in mind.

The benefit of getting divorced later in life is that there's likely no need to worry about breaking up the family while their children are young. However, the disadvantage is that they each may have no choice but to live on 50 percent of the income they initially expected to receive during their retirement years. On top of that, they will leave the marriage with only a percentage of the assets they anticipated having when they retired.

When it comes to dividing retirement assets in particular, taking the right approach is necessary to maximize every dollar saved. Specifically, when dividing a 401(k), hiring an attorney who knows how to put together a qualified domestic relations order is critical. This legal document, also known as a QDRO, spells out how this type of employer-sponsored retirement plan is to be split in a divorcing couple's unique situation. The division of an individual retirement account, or IRA, does not require the drafting of a QDRO.

Navigating a marital breakup is not an easy process from either a financial or an emotional standpoint. However, a divorce attorney can provide the guidance needed to pursue one's fair share of assets, or even alimony. The attorney's objective is to ensure that one's personal best interests are protected during this type of family law proceeding in Pennsylvania.

Source: The Washington Post, "A 'gray divorce' can devastate your retirement plans. Here's how.", Michelle Singletary, March 26, 2018

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