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Handling retirement accounts during a divorce

California residents may be understandably concerned about the state of their retirement savings in the event of a divorce. It can be immensely stressful to possibly lose much of the money they have spent years accumulating. However, careful preparation and foresight can go a long way toward minimizing some of the financial ramifications of divorce and help protect one's valuable retirement assets.

Depending on the length of time that the marriage lasted, it may be possible to claim some of the Social Security benefits of a former spouse to aid with retirement living. For this reason, it's sometimes advisable to wait a little while before initiating a divorce. Although Social Security cannot be claimed until one reaches at least the age of 62, these monthly payments can make a tremendous difference on quality of life in the aftermath of a divorce. That being said, remarriage after a divorce can potentially influence Social Security eligibility.

Since divorce expenses can often feel overwhelming, it may be tempting to dip into one's retirement savings to alleviate the financial burden. However, it may be possible to avoid such circumstances if the divorcing spouses can communicate to each other of the importance of preserving their mutual savings. These savings accounts can present special challenges in terms of the asset division process. Careful planning might help mitigate the impact that taxes and fees can have on retirement plans.

Someone who is thinking about divorce may wish to consult with a lawyer beforehand in order to start making the necessary arrangements. A lawyer can take some of the stress out of the process by assisting in negotiations over the value of shared marital assets.

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