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Can people protect their retirement savings when they divorce?

On Behalf of | May 1, 2024 | Divorce & Family Law |

Retirement is the reward that a professional secures for years of devoted work. They typically need to save throughout their working years to afford a decent standard of living when they cease working full-time.

Couples in Ohio may have saved for decades before they are old enough to enjoy their golden years together. In some cases, they may decide to divorce before they reach retirement or after realizing that spending every day together is more stressful than pleasant. Can someone preparing for divorce in their late 40s or beyond protect their retirement savings in an Ohio divorce?

Every divorce involves unique terms

Every married couple enjoys a different standard of living. Each spouse has different hobbies and habits that affect the family. While Ohio family law judges typically need to follow the same rules from one divorce case to the next, how they apply those rules can be vastly different between families.

Property division rules in Ohio require that spouses report and account for income and assets accumulated during the marriage. They also need to share responsibility for debt taken on during the marriage. The resources people owned before they got married are often their separate property that they do not have to divide unless they commingled them with marital resources.

For the purposes of property division, a good portion of the couple’s retirement savings could be subject to division. That is true even if the account is only in the name of one’s spouse. However, the law does not mandate the division of individual assets.

Instead, requires that people take a holistic approach toward the totality of the marital estate. Spouses may divide their retirement accounts, in which case they may want to use a qualified domestic relations order to avoid tax consequences and penalties.

Many times, the best solution for property division requires the valuation of assets and the use of certain resources to balance out others. It is potentially possible for someone who agreed to concessions in other aspects of the divorce to secure full ownership of their retirement savings.

Setting realistic goals when preparing for divorce, including maintaining financial stability during retirement, can help people maintain an informed perspective throughout the process. Spouses who prioritize specific outcomes may ultimately feel more satisfied with what happens during their divorces.


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