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Does divorce over age 50 wipe out your retirement savings?

Divorcing after a long marriage means reevaluating your retirement plan. Much of the money invested and earned in these accounts is marital property and subject to equitable division.

With proper planning, you and your ex-spouse can live comfortably in retirement.

Social Security benefits

Each individual contributes to social security through employment taxes. These funds are separate property, and after divorce, you and your ex-spouse receive payments based on your personal contributions. Additionally, if your marriage lasted longer than 10 years, the person who made less money can apply for 50% of the other’s benefits. This arrangement does not decrease the higher-earning spouse’s income.


Funds deposited into a 401K during your marriage, as well as any additional interest and employer contributions, qualify as marital property. Your spouse may receive an equitable share of these benefits. If you both have 401Ks, the person with the highest balance may need to transfer some money to the other spouse.  Since these funds are taxable, consider rolling this money into another 401K account.  If you do not want to give your ex a portion of your money, you can offer other items of equal value.


It takes a lifetime of hard work to earn a pension. Even though you put in the effort for the account, the funds are marital property.  Your spouse may request a fair share of the pension you earned during the marriage. If you do not want to decrease your payments, you can offer other assets of equal value in exchange.

Divorce laws require equal distribution of your retirement funds. Consider investing your money into new accounts to continue making a profit after divorce.

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