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How Divorce Affects Your 401(k) and Retirement Planning

Most people know divorce can be pretty expensive, but not many expect precisely how much they will end up paying. Many states require equitable division when people divorce, including Kentucky. Equitable division means both spouses divide marital property as equitably, or fairly, as possible—which doesn’t necessarily mean splitting everything exactly in half. Because of this process, part of the marital property could be your 401(k), pensions, and other retirement accounts.

Accounts that include money earned during the course of the marriage are considered marital property and can either be divided or awarded all to one spouse during the property division process. However, only marital property is up for division; if a spouse paid into an account before their marriage, that amount is considered their own, separate property.

If your retirement account is marital property, the participant spouse has the option to either give their ex a share of the benefits or buy out the non-participant spouse. A pension will have to be valued to determine whether one spouse will keep the entire amount while the other receives property in equal value, or whether both spouses will split its full amount. Many opt for the latter option to avoid actuarial valuation of the pension, which can be complicated.

Marriages lasting 10 years or more can also affect how much you get in Social Security. If your marriage lasted that long, you can receive benefits on your ex’s work record if the benefits you would receive based on your own work record are less. You can earn these benefits as long as you remain unmarried.

Property division tends to be one of the most complex aspects of divorce, especially for longer marriages and a more substantial collection of assets. If you’re interested in discussing the divorce process with an experienced Bowling Green divorce lawyer, talk to Attorney Pamela Bratcher today. She has nearly 30 years of legal experience to offer your case. Let us see what we can do for you and your family.

Contact us at (270) 977-8910 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation today.

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