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Potential issues when splitting retirement assets in divorce

Divorce at any age can be emotionally draining. You may have many questions about the process, as well as concerns over what the future will bring.

Property division is always a matter of discussion during a divorce, and this may entail retirement assets. While it is easy to believe that these assets can be split down the middle, this is not typically the end result. This is why it is always a good idea to seek legal guidance when filing for divorce, otherwise you run the risk of leaving valuable assets on the table.

There are a number of potential issues that can affect the distribution of assets, including the way the split of marital property can impact a person's tax situation.

Matters of timing are also of concern, especially when one or both people is younger than age 59 ½. If for any reason funds are withdrawn in the wrong way, the person who takes the money will be subject to an early withdrawal penalty.

Since there are so many potential issues when splitting retirement assets in divorce, it's a good idea for both parties to speak with a financial planner and tax professional. This has nothing to do with how the assets will be split, but it can go a long way in helping each party avoid complications.

Most people, regardless of age, have retirement assets when going through a divorce. To protect against potential issues that could cost you money, make sure you know what is happening and the steps you can take to put yourself in a better position. This will ensure that you get all the money that is due to you.

Source:, "Splitting up retirement assets in a divorce," Marilyn Bowden, accessed June 17, 2016

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