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Later in life divorce may necessitate change to retirement plans

With more older couples than ever before deciding to part ways, many Massachusetts residents may find themselves facing their golden years with less money than they expected. Typically, couples who divorce earlier in life split any retirement funds they’ve accrued while married, but at least they have many more years of earning potential ahead. Couples who divorce mid to late career, on the other hand, may have to make some adjustments to their plans.

For one, many divorcing individuals will need to continue working a little (or a lot) longer than they had planned. In most divorce cases, retirement savings are considered marital property, and as such, they are divided between spouses. Divorcing people who have had to share their savings will likely have to work to recoup monetary losses. As well, most people will encounter additional expenses during a divorce and beyond: extra living expenses as a single person, legal costs and often, child and/or spousal support.

Some people who divorce as they are nearing retirement age also have minor children. Individuals in this situation may have to rethink where they plan to enjoy their retirement. Depending on custody arrangements, parents who wish to spend regular time with their children will probably want to live near them and the ex-spouse, so plans to move to a warmer climate, for example, may have to wait. As well, early access of retirement funds typically results in extra expenses, such as taxes or penalties, which can drain even more of one’s savings. Divorcing individuals wishing to avoid such costs should have a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) prepared, and an attorney can help facilitate such a process.

Although modifications to one’s retirement plan may be an inevitable part of the fallout from divorce, individuals in this position need not worry that all is ruined. With an adjustment to plans and an attitude open to compromise, divorcing older couples can still look forward to enjoying their retirement years. Divorcing Massachusetts couples at all stages of life often turn to an experienced family law attorney to help them navigate the divorce process.


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