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Baby boomers and the division of retirement accounts in divorce

An increasing number of baby boomers in Michigan are choosing to divorce, and the trend appears likely to continue. Baby boomers who divorce may have complex issues regarding property division, especially since they are near retirement age.

When people have been married for years, they have likely accumulated a significant number of assets that will need to be divided. Among those assets may be retirement accounts. Even if one spouse has a retirement account in his or her own name, he or she should expect to divide the amount that is attributable to the time while he or she was married.

People should look at what their tax brackets will be after they are divorced and should divide the retirement accounts according to their value after taxes. If there will be a disparity in the tax brackets, couples might want to take that difference into account when dividing the retirement accounts. Even if the marital home holds a lot of sentimental value to a spouse, he or she should refrain from agreeing to waiving his or her portion of a retirement account in exchange for keeping the home. Houses are expensive to maintain, and the person may be left without being able to retire when the time comes for him or her to do so.

People who are preparing to go through a high-asset divorce might want to retain a family law attorney. A lawyer may advise a client regarding the tax and retirement implications of different proposed divisions of property. The lawyer may also secure the help of valuations experts and appraisers in order to determine the worth of the marital estate. Doing so can help the attorney protect a client's financial interests, making certain that the individual receives his or her fair share of the marital property.

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