Financially competent couples tend to start focusing on their future financial stability early on in their marriages. This typically includes planning for retirement, which often includes at least one 401k account. However, as couples in New York and across the rest of the United States divorce later in life more often, many have serious concerns about their retirement savings.
Baby boomers are divorcing more frequently than in the past, and the rate of divorce for people at least 50 years old actually doubled in the 20 years before 2010. This age group also has very unique concerns during divorce. The second most common concern expressed by boomers? At 62 percent of over-50 divorcees indicating concern, retirement accounts are one of the most contested issues.
The reasons behind retirement worries are perhaps not that complicated to understand. It is typically far more expensive for two individuals to live separately than it is together. Everything from rent to groceries tends to come at a higher average price for someone living on their own. Savings for retirement that might have been appropriate for a married couple might no longer cover the needs and expenses of divorced individuals.
Unless a New York couple has a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise, retirement savings are generally considered to be marital assets even if only one party contributed to it during the course of the marriage. Unemployed divorcees or those who earn considerably less than an ex can at least still be assured that they will have access to their portion of the funds once they reach the age of retirement. In some instances, alimony is also an appropriate request during a divorce for the baby boomer generation.
Source: Fox Business, "Can You Lose Your 401k in a Divorce?", Casey Dowd, Aug. 11, 2016