As your marriage fades away, you do not need to let your retirement savings to go with it. You probably have concerns about your spouse getting a huge chunk of your retirement savings. The thought of watching your 401(k) or IRA go down the drain may be just as upsetting as the emotional toll of divorce.
The financial side of splitting up is frustrating and stressful, but there are ways to safeguard your retirement assets. Here are some essential tips for protecting your retirement accounts during divorce.
1. Do not take early withdrawals
Your divorce will likely cost you thousands of dollars. Dividing assets, paying legal fees and living on your own may cause a significant financial burden. However, do not give into the temptation to tap into your retirement savings to cover these expenses. If you take money out of an IRA or 401(k) too early, you will incur costly penalties.
2. Divide them properly
Chances are your retirement accounts will be subject to some sort of division, even if it is not exactly 50/50. When you divide your assets, make sure you talk to an attorney about doing it right. Credit.com points out that certain types of retirement accounts require different paperwork and methods. You should work with a lawyer who drafts QDROs so your accounts get proper distribution. Otherwise, you may deal with taxes and fees.
3. Offer up other assets
If you have a substantial amount of funds in your retirement, you do not need to give it all away. Consider the implications of giving other assets to your spouse. Will you be better off if you offer the house instead? Think about the long-term consequences of dividing different assets in order to make the best decision.
Your retirement funds do not need to be squeezed during your divorce. Adhere to these guidelines to shield them.