You have probably been planning your retirement for years, if not decades. You and your spouse have likely been setting aside money or investing in order to make those dreams a reality. Now that your marriage has hit a hard spot that you aren’t sure it can recover from, you may have different hopes for the future than you did before.
Divorce will inevitably change what retirement looks like for both you and your spouse. Obviously, you may have imagined living together, supporting one another and even traveling with your spouse during your retirement, none of which will likely happen after the divorce. However, there are other, more significant ways in which divorce can impact your retirement dreams.
You and your spouse will have less to retire on
Whether you have been putting money aside in a 401k for years or your spouse has a pension that you expected would take care of you both, the amount of money you have set aside for retirement reflects shared living expenses for two people in one household. In most divorce situations, the courts will divide pensions and retirement funds between spouses.
Exactly how they split the account will depend on many factors, like the length of your marriage, your health and even your earning potential. It can be impossible to predict the exact way the courts divide your account, but you can expect that they will split these resources in most cases.
That means that while you will receive your share of the account based on household and individual circumstances, what you get will be much less than you had anticipated having for retirement when you planned with your spouse.
You may consume valuable assets paying for the divorce
It is not unusual for people to spend tens of thousands of dollars in court costs and other charges as they end their marriage. You may have to empty out savings accounts and could possibly even need to take out a new line of credit just to pay for your share of the divorce. The longer your divorce proceedings last and the more contentious they become, the more you will probably end up paying.
You need to consider not only the division of your assets but also how divorce proceedings will diminish them when trying to plan for your retirement after a divorce. Getting good advice and focusing on your long-term happiness can reduce the negative consequences of a divorce later in life.