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Divorce Financial and Retirement Asset Planning

The article below highlights some of the issues and concerns that attach to a divorce after a lengthy marriage. Under Illinois law, retirement assets are divisible between the parties; there is a common practice that IRA’s, 401(k)s and pensions are to be valued as of the date of the divorce, and allocated between the divorcing spouses equitably.

A person’s retirement plan is a lifeline to the future. For many, it is their most important asset, even more emotionally valuable than a house or investment account. With this in mind, it is critical that the identification, valuation, and allocation of all marital assets in a divorce be accomplished properly. Law Offices of Michael Roe has on many occasions, with higher asset estates, worked with skilled and cost effective Divorce Financial Planners to effectuate an allocation model that can be submitted to the court. A properly presented plan that is beneficial to our client can often drive the resolution of the case in the right direction. The article states:

AFTER enduring a divorce four years ago, Mike Miller’s vision for a golden retirement got an unexpected makeover. Mr. Miller had been married for more than 30 years, and now he was single. His longtime dream of a shared retirement was shattered. He was also facing another unwelcome outcome: living in a smaller home and taking fewer vacations.

“The financial belt needed to be tightened,” said Mr. Miller, now 61 and managing director of Integra Shield Financial Group in Minnesota. “It doesn’t go around as well.”

Like Mr. Miller, more Americans are going through so-called gray divorces and the downsizing that follows.

Besides causing depression and dashing dreams, these divorces can sabotage retirement plans as assets are cut in half and expenses as a divorced single rise. For some older people, emerging from divorce with retirement plans intact can be challenging.

“There isn’t much time left to enhance portfolios post-divorce,” said Susan Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. “So you have to be careful to get the best settlement you can. Some people may have difficulty recovering.” One solution, she added, is “having a really good attorney and fighting for your fair share.”

The lesson in gray divorce, Mr. Miller said, is realizing that the ship isn’t sinking. “You’re just steering a new course.”

From New York Times CONSTANCE GUSTKE JUNE 27, 2014