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Addressing retirement account division during divorce

If you and your spouse have recently decided to end your marriage, you will almost assuredly be forced to make a host of financial, relationship and situational decisions affected by the impending divorce within the coming weeks and months.

One of the most important decisions you must make may not initially seem to be the most pressing. While you may be primarily concerned with where you will live now, how you will adjust your budget and how your relationships will be impacted by the split, one consideration you must evaluate carefully and with urgency involves retirement account division.

Unless you and your spouse have been together for only a few years, chances are that you have accumulated relatively significant retirement savings over the course of your marriage. How you choose to address this particular asset will affect you for years to come. With the possible exception of real estate, your retirement benefits may be the most substantial and life-altering asset that will be divided during your divorce settlement.

Please consider discussing division of your retirement benefits with your attorney as soon as possible. Though each divorce is unique, in most cases it will be inadvisable to trade away your retirement benefits for some other asset in play. Though it can be tempting to focus on concrete assets including various precious possessions and shares of a family business, stranding yourself financially without a retirement safety net can lead to disastrous consequences down the road.

When considering retirement asset division during your divorce, think long and hard before agreeing to an unequal and inadequate share of benefits acquired during the marriage.

Source: Forbes, “Saving Your Retirement From A Divorce,” Greg Brown, Oct. 21, 2013

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