How to prevent your divorce from destroying your retirement

Divorce can be an expensive process. If you or your spouse feels compelled to contest any element of your property division or child custody agreement, the divorce process can potentially drag on for months or years. It is critical that you keep your retirement assetsat the forefront of your mind during your divorce. Though the process can be costly and property settlement negotiations can be challenging, you do not generally want to endanger your retirement in order to pay for the process or in order to settle your property division disputes.

The nation's Social Security program is suffering under the weight of an aging workforce. No one can guarantee that these benefits will be there for you when you retire or years into your retirement. In addition, millions of Americans have lost their pension benefits for a number of reasons related to economic downturn. For these reasons alone, it is critical that you safeguard your personal retirement funds during your divorce. They may be all you will have to get by on when you are too elderly to continue working.

According to ING, individuals who have been through divorce save an average of $11,000 less than individuals who have not faced the challenge of divorce. Too many individuals borrow against their retirement accounts to finance expenses during their divorces. If you can avoid dipping into retirement savings, please do. It is a far wiser choice to cut back on non-essentials during this time than to leave yourself far less prepared for retirement.

Also, please keep in mind that your retirement assets may be the most valuable property you have in play during your divorce. Aside from the house, your retirement assets may impact your life the most of any property at your disposal. Do not sign away these assets lightly.

Source: Forbes, "4 Divorce Mistakes That Can Derail Retirement," Marilyn Timbers, Aug. 21, 2013