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Divorce can change retirement plans and savings methods

Colorado couples need to take retirement savings and plans for retirement into account both during and after the divorce process. While going through a divorce, they likely will want to work with financial experts and attorneys who can help them make sure that their properties, retirement savings and other assets will be split fairly. Spouses may be able to negotiate for a greater share of retirement benefits during mediation or divorce proceedings if they concede other assets. Sometimes, individuals may be entitled to a portion of their ex-spouse's Social Security benefits if they were married for 10 years or more.

After getting divorced, individuals need to budget to start building up their retirement savings. This may mean that they have to cut out additional expenses, such as eating out. Individuals who have gone through a divorce should also learn more about their Social Security benefits and start thinking in the long term about when they want to start drawing these benefits. Waiting until after they are 70 years old can mean that they have a greater amount of benefits.

Divorces can have an impact on ex-spouses' ability to save money. When couples are married, they are often able to share the costs of rent, food and utilities. After getting a divorce, they are responsible for all of these costs by themselves. If they have young children, being able to save for retirement can be even more challenging.

During a divorce or legal separation, couples need to think about retirement savings while also negotiating on property, child custody, alimony and monetary assets. Colorado operates under an equitable distribution rule, which means that judges try to split everything up in a way that is fair to both parties. Each person's contributions to the marriage and financial situations are taken into account when courts decide on assets such as retirement savings. A family law attorney may be able to assist spouses in negotiating for retirement savings, Social Security benefits, 401(k) benefits or other types of retirement benefits.

Source: Morrow County Sentinel, "Resetting your retirement after divorce," Jason Alderman, April 13, 2015

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