When people in California make the decision to divorce, especially after years of marriage, it can have an effect on their plans and readiness for retirement. In many cases, retirement funds are among the largest marital assets shared by a couple, and the division that takes place during a divorce can spark a need for serious financial work to rebuild retirement savings. While many people expect the financial repercussions of divorce to be significant, the most commonly cited issues are those that occur immediately after a split.

However, a report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College indicates the importance of long-term financial planning to handle the repercussions of divorce. The study looked at Americans’ retirement risk, an index developed by the center to assess working-age people’s ability to retire and retain their standard of living. While around half of all households in the country are at risk of being unable to do so after retirement, the risk is 7 percentage points higher for households that have been involved in a divorce in the past.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to this elevated risk. The effect of asset division on individual retirement funds is certainly one of the reasons, but the simple added costs of living as a single person can add up over the years. Married couples can save by sharing common expenses for housing and utilities, an advantage often not shared by single people. Those extra costs can play a significant role in a person’s ability to save for retirement.

During a divorce, planning for financial outcomes can be critical, especially when going through the property division process. A family law attorney may advocate for a divorcing spouse throughout the negotiations process and work to achieve a fair settlement on issues including asset division, spousal support and child custody.