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What's going to happen to your retirement plan if you divorce?

A divorce will inevitably bring significant financial changes to your life. You may have to adjust to a new budget and life on one income, even if you will receive spousal support. If you will have to pay child support or alimony, you may have to change your spending habits. There are many changes you will experience that will be immediate, but there will be changes that will also affect you in the future.

One long-term financial impact will involve your retirement savings. If you were married a long time, chances are that you and your spouse set aside savings for your golden years. You have a rightful claim to any marital property, which includes anything saved or accumulated over the course of your marriage. When it comes to your retirement, it's in your interests to pursue a settlement that will make sense long-term.

Think about your future

It's easy to make emotionally driven decisions during a divorce. You may feel a temptation to simply settle quickly so you can move forward with your life, but this is not prudent. It is better to slow down and be intentional about mitigating the potentially negative impacts of poorly made financial decisions. Depending on the type of retirement accounts you have, it may be necessary to draft a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

A QDRO outlines how an employer will pay out benefits to a spouse. This is a court order that ensures that you get your fair share of marital property or prevents your employer from paying a former spouse too much. It is a document that protects the interests of both parties and minimizes the chances of complications and disputes over certain marital assets.

Drafting a QDRO

An experienced attorney should draft this document on your behalf, especially if it is a significant amount of retirement savings at stake. Different types of retirement plans pay out in different ways, and some research may be necessary to ensure you get a document that is appropriate and effective for your individual situation.

Whether you need to draft a QDRO or you want to make sure you are able to get a fair share of retirement savings, you will find it beneficial to speak with an experienced Utah family law attorney about your options. The choices you make now will impact you for years to come, and it's prudent to have guidance as you proceed with property division and decisions regarding your retirement.

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