Divorce and retirement accounts

There has been a large increase in the number of Texans who are divorcing after age 50. This has the effect of placing many retirement accounts in play during the negotiations or litigation over property division. There are steps people should take to protect their ability to retire after their divorces are finalized.

Dividing retirement accounts is very complex. There are many different types, and all of them have their own regulations and laws governing them. Making certain to understand the rules that apply to a particular type of plan may be hard. People will also need to be able to understand what portion should be allocated to the marital estate and what is the separate property of the person holding the account if it was set up before the marriage.

People should also be aware of the tax consequences of dividing the retirement accounts and take that into consideration during negotiations. Other factors that might come into play include if the account holder took out a loan against the balance as well as any fees that might be assessed to divide it up.

In a divorce in which retirement accounts are at issue, people who hold them may feel that the stakes are quite high. They may run the risk of not being able to retire on time if the division is not handled appropriately. A family law attorney might be of assistance in negotiating an overall settlement agreement under which the client will retain 100 percent of the retirement account while relinquishing other assets of roughly equal value.In other cases where the plan will be divided, the attorney can draft the necessary qualified domestic relations order