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What to do when divorce interrupts retirement plans

Most New Jersey residents have a picture in their minds of how they want their retirement years to be. Those plans can be in jeopardy when a couple approaching this stage of life divorce. Nearly every divorce comes with some form of economic consequences, but it might be possible to minimize them or hasten the financial recovery of the parties.

An objective valuation of the marital assets is essential. Without an understanding of what resources are actually available to the parties, costly mistakes can be made. Financial advisers and appraisers for real estate, businesses or other assets might need to be added to the legal team in order to provide the parties with as complete a financial picture as possible.

Some New Jersey residents insist on keeping the marital home -- often for emotional reasons. This could be a critical mistake since the costs associated with keeping the home could lead to financial disaster. It would be a good idea to obtain objective advice regarding the true costs of keeping the home. That person or persons can also offer suggestions regarding the best financial course of action. This leads to the necessity of a realistic, post-divorce budget without which the wrong financial choices could be made inadvertently.

It might seem harsh that years -- and in some cases decades -- of marriage often come down to a financial spreadsheet. However, each party has to consider that they will be responsible for a separate household (often with a lower income) after the divorce. This often interrupts any retirement plans that the couple made together during the marriage, which means that each party will need to be able to rebuild retirement resources on his or her own. Making informed and unemotional financial decisions during the process could help lessen the impact of the economic losses that often occur under these circumstances.

Source: ABC News, "Keeping Some Green in Gray Divorce", Sarah Skidmore Sell, Sept. 7, 2016

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