How To Handle New Spouses and Retirement Accounts

divorce retirement plansBy Jennifer M. Paine

Divorce Lawyer, Cordell & Cordell

In the throes of divorce, another marriage may be the last thing on your mind. But there may come a time when a new lady in your life becomes your wife, and one day the two of you retire as husband and wife.

Do you want your ex meddling in your affairs when that happens? She could, unless you protect your future retirement (with your future wife) now.

Again, always consult with an attorney and review your plan specifics, and make sure you have these three divorce questions to ask:

1. Is the account division as of the date of separation or divorce, or is it “the entire account” (which is a bad idea, because you basically divide all of the money you earn after your divorce)?

2. If your ex is named as a survivor, can you name additional survivors, or does she receive the entire survivor benefit (leaving your new wife empty handed)?

3. If your ex passes away, does she leave any outstanding benefits, and do those revert to you (to pass on to your new wife)?

What you do not want to happen, but what often does happen, is to retire only to find out that your retirement money does not match your expectations. So, have this conversation with your attorney early and often in your case.


Read the other divorce articles in our retirement advice series:


Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

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