Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, June 30, 2014

Divorces Drowning Retirement Plans


According to a study by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, the divorce rate among people 50 or older has doubled since 1990.  These divorces can sabotage retirement plans as assets are usually split in half.  Emerging from a divorce with unbroken retirement plans may be challenging.  “There isn’t much time left to enhance portfolios post-divorce.  So you have to be careful to get the best settlement you can.  Some people may have difficulty recovering.”  One solution is to have a good attorney fighting for your fair share. 

Some experts suggest hiring a financial planner even before finding a divorce lawyer.  Planners can assist divorcing spouses navigate through retirement plan laws, predict cash-flow forecasts, and maximize tax-free distributions.  This financial aptitude is needed early so that assets such as deferred-compensation plans or stock options are not overlooked. 

While moving on after a divorce can be difficult, experts advise creating a plan that allows you to live the best life possible with your available resources.  “The ship isn’t sinking.  You’re just steering a new course.”

See Constance Gustke, Retirement Plans Thrown Into Disarray by a Divorce, The New York Times, June 27, 2014. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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