Securing Custody After the Kids are Grown... of the Retirement Accounts
"Gray divorces" are a trend that unfortunately seems to not be going anywhere. A "Gray divorce" is a term used for the divorces of older couples (implying "gray-haired" couples). With couples being older and approaching retirement, or already retired, the division of assets becomes exceedingly important. In particular, retirement accounts.
Parties put money into their retirement accounts for decades, with the intention that these funds will be able to support their household for the remainder of their life. However, when there is a "gray divorce," these funds now need to be able to support two households. There are additional concerns, because generally people are preparing to leave the workforce, or have been out of the workforce for many years. Therefore, securing your portion of retirement funds is imperative.
Generally speaking, and there are always exceptions, the marital portion of a parties' retirement account gets equally divided. There is also a third party that gets a portion of these monies, and that is the government by way of taxes. This is important to remember when financially planning your post-divorce future.
Sometimes parties seek to offset a retirement account against real property. This should be carefully considered, in the event you need to be able to withdraw funds immediately, whereas a house can take months to sell.
When the parties' children are young, custody of the kids is the primary concern. However, when the children are grown, parties need to remember to put themselves first, including their financial future, which very importantly includes the division of retirement benefits.