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Retirement plans are the "real deal" in divorces

Sometimes marriages last and sometimes they don't. Divorces sometimes fall into two categories - a common divorce or a high-net worth divorce. For a common divorce, the process can end quickly, especially if both parties have decided to be amicable about the way their property and assets can be divided. For complex divorces, or for those people who have accumulated a wide-array of assets during the course of marriage, divvying up the assets can be particularly challenging. Our Saint Charles, Missouri, readers may want to know some common mistakes that can be made during a divorce.

For baby boomers going through so-called "gray divorces," there are a lot of risks involved during the legal process. One of the most common mistakes is focusing on the marital home without even considering the costs of maintaining the house or removing the other spouse's name from the deed. Divorcing individuals should know that the marital home is oftentimes not the most valuable asset, since its price is subject to change. In many situations the best thing to do with the marital home is to sell it and split the proceeds. Another common mistake of divorcing couples is disregarding the retirement plans of their spouses. Spouses should negotiate with their soon-to-be exes when it comes to retirement plans rather than focusing on alimony, which is often only temporary.

It is important for spouses to speak with financial planners who can help them prepare for any tax implications. Divorced women aged 62 and older may be able to collect from their ex-spouse's Social Security benefits if their marriage lasted for at least 10 years.

It's important to remember that retirement plans are valuable assets in any type of divorce and spouses should not forget about retirement plans when discussing property division and other financial matters.

Source: Forbes.com, "The big money mistake divorcing women make," Kerry Hannon, July 3, 2014

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