For some couples, the eminent reality of retirement is what eventually gives rise to the decision to divorce. Both spouses may be able to pretend for some time that they don’t mind the way their marriage has changed until they need to consider spending all day, every day, together for the rest of their lives. They want to enjoy their retirement, so they realize that it is time to make a change.
If you fall into the category of people who have grown apart from their spouses over the course of their working life, you may already know that you want to divorce before you retire. However, ending your marriage later in life can have implications that you must consider before you make any permanent decisions.
Are you ready to split your retirement savings with your spouse?
If you have a pension or retirement plan that you have added money to slowly over the course of your working life, you will probably have to split it with your spouse. Regardless of whether your name is the only name on the account or not, the courts will probably consider any amount deposited or accrued during your marriage to be marital property.
That means that you may have roughly half of what you expected to have for your retirement. You may even need to split each pension check when you receive it, as the courts could order spousal support to ensure a fair split. Unless you have an agreement on record about not splitting your retirement assets in a divorce, the courts will likely insist that you do so. That means having less than you planned for this age.
Adjusting to reduced retirement savings could mean that you need to keep working for a few more years in order to make up the gap or even make changes to your retirement plans. Living more frugally and altering your expectations for retirement can make it possible for you to retire as planned even after a divorce.
Make sure you change your account information and your last will, too
Retirement is often a time when people choose to revisit their estate plan and update it. Divorce is also one of those times. You will want to remove your former spouse on all of your last will and estate documents. You should also remove them as a beneficiary from your retirement accounts or pension, particularly if you previously had an order for the funds to transfer on death to your spouse.
It can be hard to know what steps are necessary in an impending divorce. Consulting with an experienced Texas divorce attorney can help you make the best decisions possible as you approach a divorce close to retirement age.