Over the course of a long marriage, you and your spouse have likely accumulated significant assets, which the court will now split during your divorce proceedings.
A secure financial future is your top priority, and you want to do all you can to receive a fair division of your marital assets. Here are four tips to help you prepare.
1. Pull your records together
Gathering your records is a priority. The basics include bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage and other loan documents, real estate deeds, car registrations, tax returns, and will and trust information. Your divorce attorney will need one set of these records but keep copies for yourself.
2. List your monthly expenses
Making a list of your expenses, including what you pay for food, clothing, transportation, home repairs and any other expenditures, has two purposes. First, you will need this information for the divorce proceedings, but it will also help you establish a new budget for your post-divorce life.
3. Know about retirement accounts
There are different rules for dividing different retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or an IRA. Different tax consequences also apply. Your attorney can explain how the court will divide your retirement accounts. There are various options, but the division must be fair to both parties.
4. Understand Social Security eligibility
If your marriage endured for at least 10 years, you qualify for Social Security benefits from your spouse’s earnings as long as you meet certain requirements:
- You are at least 62 years of age
- You remain unmarried following your divorce
- Your own Social Security benefit amount is less than what you would receive from your spouse’s earnings
Social Security benefits represent one piece of the property division puzzle in a later-in-life divorce. Rely on legal guidance to help you obtain a settlement that will provide you with the financial security you deserve.