Kelly Byrnes & Danker, PLLC continues to be fully available to serve the needs of both our existing clients as well as new clients for their family law matters. Although we are primarily working remotely due to the impact of COVID-19, we remain fully operational and accessible to meet with clients via video and telephone conferencing during this time period. If you are already working with an attorney, they remain available to you via email or telephone at (703) 224-0888. If you are interested in a consultation or becoming a new firm client, please use the link at the bottom of our home page and complete the information at “Discuss Your Case With A Lawyer”. Someone will respond to your inquiry promptly. Read More

Reducing the effect of divorce on retirement

Regardless of how close or far away retirement might be for a Virginia couple, divorce could make a significant dent in their retirement savings. Further complicating matters may be the fact that it can be difficult to set aside emotions during divorce negotiations. However, this will be necessary to ensure future financial security.

Spouses may have IRAs, pension or 401(k) accounts. Whether or not the account was established prior to the marriage, both spouses may be entitled to a portion of the funds. When looking at the value of an IRA, it’s important to keep in mind that withdrawals before the age of 59 1/2 are penalized. To divide a pension or 401(k) as part of a divorce settlement, it is necessary to have a document called a qualified domestic relations order. This is not needed for an IRA.

Social Security does not need to be negotiated as part of the divorce agreement. If the marriage has lasted 10 years or longer, a lower-earning spouse might be able to draw benefits on the salary of a higher-earning spouse. Lower-earning spouses have a choice of either drawing benefits on their own earnings or getting half of the benefits based on a spouse’s earnings. This does not affect the benefits that the higher-earning spouse receives.

Even in a high-asset divorce, retirement savings often are one of the more significant assets. However, there may be a number of other complex investments that must be divided as part of the divorce. For example, if one person owns a business, the owner might need to buy out the spouse. Real estate investments and valuable art or other types of collections may also present complications as they may need to be appraised and sold. Legal counsel could help a couple with the property division process.