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 With the exception of your family home and any business that you might own, your pension or retirement account is probably the biggest asset you share with your spouse. That means that both you and your spouse will target those accounts during a divorce.

You can generally expect that you will have to share your pension or retirement account with your spouse even if the account is only in your name and you are the only one who has made direct financial contributions to it.

Splitting up a retirement account or pension will mean likely having substantially less than you initially budgeted for and when you retire. What will that mean for you as you approach your golden years?

Living expenses may be lower after divorce

It is common for spouses with unhappy marriages to invest a lot of money in the distractions from their circumstances and in more household space than they reasonably need. For example, you might maintain a four-bedroom house with a “she shed” outside and a fully remodeled basement or garage apartment that serves as a “man cave” so that you and your spouse barely have to interact with each other.

Between utilities and taxes for a sizable property, it may cost you several times more to maintain a large family home than it will to move in to a smaller home or condominium after your divorce.

You can plan to reduce your retirement costs

Understanding that the courts will likely order the division of your retirement account or pension can help you plan ahead for a stricter budget. From arranging to continue working for a few extra years to rebuild your nest egg to finding a roommate or reducing other living expenses, there are many ways for you to find a way to make a shared or split retirement account or pension work for you after you divorce later in life.

You may also be able to protect your retirement assets through an uncontested divorce filing or other strategies Exploring these options with your attorney can help reduce the impact of divorce on your retirement.