An increasing number of older couples are seeing their marriages come to an end. The trend appears to be ongoing and is not expected to decline anytime soon. California couples who have been married for years may need to think about their ability to retire when they are deciding how to divide their assets during a divorce.
Even if one person owns a retirement account to which he or she has faithfully made contributions throughout the marriage, the account is considered to be part of the marital estate and will be divided. Spouses need to pay attention to the value of the division after tax, dividing the accounts pursuant to that metric. Similarly, they may want to divide the accounts according to their separate tax brackets if those brackets as single people will differ.
While it may be tempting, people should avoid trading their interest in retirement accounts for the marital home. Houses are often very expensive to maintain, and keeping one may draw down money rather than increasing it. People should look forward and think about how they might be able to retire within the next few years, being mindful of their current incomes and the future reduction in earnings capabilities that they may face.
Property division in divorces involving significant assets may be very complex. In addition to dividing retirement accounts, couples who have been married for a long time might also need to divide business interests, real estate holdings, investment accounts, stocks, art and other valuables. People may want to hire experts to value their estates and assets so that they can make certain that they receive their fair shares. A family law attorney may help a client with finding appraisers and negotiating in an effort to reach a fair settlement.