Divorce was once thought of as an issue for young couples and not a problem that would necessarily plague older generations. That old belief is no longer a reality with so-called gray divorces seeing a sharp uptick in recent years. However, when divorce comes later in life, there are unique and specialized concerns that might be an issue in completing the process.
The divorce rate for couples aged 50 and older has effectively doubled since the year 1990. With the age of retirement not far off, many who enter the process have trepidations about their retirement fund. Particularly if only one party worked during the course of the marriage, many Colorado couples simply want to know if a retirement account is even possible to include in asset division. In short– yes.
Some individuals try to argue that a retirement account that has only one party’s name on it and was contributed to solely by that person should be considered personal property. Like debt, it does not necessarily matter who was responsible for the account, but that the savings were accrued over the course of the marriage with the intention of providing future financial stability for both parties. As such, retirement accounts are indeed marital property and eligible to be divided between both parties.
Dividing retirement funds does not usually mean withdrawing the funds, taking a penalty and splitting the remaining cash half and half. Instead, the amount that each party is eligible for is outlined in the divorce settlement, and upon retirement, each party can begin to receive their respective amounts. Any additional funds put into the retirement account after a divorce do not in any way increase the amount that an ex was awarded, so people in Colorado can continue to contribute to their 401k accounts without worry.
Source: wcpo.com, “How retirement plans get divided in a divorce”, Jan. 20, 2016