How to protect your retirement in a high-asset divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2023 | Family Law

Divorce is not typically an easy or pleasant process. When you have a high net worth, it becomes very messy.

You have likely spent years, maybe even decades, building your long-term financial stability and prosperity. Therefore, these are some tips to help you protect your retirement assets during your divorce.

Inventory your assets and debts

First, never hide assets from your spouse. Not only is it illegal, but it rarely works. This includes your retirement assets. However, you should know how much you had in your accounts before you got married as well as the balances of your accounts as well as your spouse’s accounts.

Write down your physical assets, from real estate to artwork and jewelry, and your investments, including stocks and bonds. Then, write down all your debts. Include mutual debts, such as mortgages, as well as debts each of you holds, such as student loans, medical debts or credit cards.

Learn about your accounts

Learn about your accounts, including the use of qualified domestic relations orders. Speak with a financial advisor. Calculate the fees and penalties for deducting money from your retirement early, and use this information in your negotiations.

Negotiate with an advisor

To keep your retirement intact, negotiate with your spouse. You can take on additional marital debt, sacrifice non-retirement assets, etc. You may bring a financial advisor to explain the tax implications and possible deals.

Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state, so if you go to court, a judge will determine who gets what based on equity, not equality. Therefore, set a timeline and goals for your negotiation and do your best to work with your spouse because every delay costs you money.