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Protecting retirement assets in divorce

Divorcing couples in Kentucky often have many things on their minds. Child support, alimony, and property division are often major considerations in either an uncontested or contested divorce.

Unfortunately, some couples, particularly those who are under 50, may ignore the importance of appropriately dividing retirement assets. Appropriate levels of retirement savings are crucial to being able to enjoy a comfortable old age, which means that both spouses should seek to protect their share of these assets.

Both partners should disclose all retirement accounts. Directions regarding their distribution should be incorporated in the divorce decree. From there, they can seek guidance from an attorney, mediator, or financial professional regarding both dividing the assets as well as protecting these funds from taxes and fees.

Once the asset division of a employer-sponsored or otherwise qualified plan is determined, each spouse should send a copy of the Qualified Domestic Relations Order to all plan managers to ensure appropriate distribution at the time of retirement. Spouses should also periodically update these orders over time, as information about benefits and their distributions may change after one of the ex-spouses remarries or dies.

Divorcing couples should also be aware of laws regarding Social Security benefits. If a couple has been married for at least 10 years, it is possible for spouses to claim spousal benefits on each other's earnings even after a divorce.Individuals going through a divorce may benefit from seeking professional legal advice from an experienced family law attorney. In addition to addressing retirement concerns, counsel can review the client's situation and make recommendations regarding property division, child support, parenting time and spousal maintenance.

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