Ever since you entered the workforce, you saved for retirement, building up your nest egg. After all, you have big plans for an early retirement.
Now that you are getting divorced, you worry those plans will go up in smoke. It is common to divide portions of your retirement assets when you end a marriage, but is it a requirement?
In some cases, it might not be necessary
You may not always have to engage in the complex process of dividing your hard-earned retirement assets. For example, you might not have to divide them if you and your spouse:
- Negotiate with another asset of similar value;
- Or both agree to keep your own retirement assets.
There are other details to consider in these cases, such as the value of the individual retirement assets. However, if you and your spouse resolve your divorce through mediation and reach an agreement on this, then you may not have to subject your retirement savings to property division. Even though the assets earned during the marriage are marital property, it could depend on your agreement and how you choose to handle your accounts.
You must keep in mind that the purpose of property division is not division for division’s sake. The goal is to distribute marital assets equitably to help ensure you and your spouse can be financially independent.
What if you cannot agree?
That being said, most divorces do involve the division of retirement assets. This could be due to the inequality between spouses’ retirement accounts – and even overall assets. Along those lines, a judge may also order you to divide them under North Carolina’s guidelines if you take your divorce to court.
Protecting your future is likely one of your primary goals in the divorce. Your retirement savings play a large role in that, so it is critical to understand your options to secure these savings.