How do I protect my retirement after a divorce?

During your divorce negotiations and agreement, your spouse likely got half or at least part of your retirement savings, leaving you with a huge dent in the money you thought you had saved.

DaveRamsey.com explains that what happens after your divorce depends on how your finances look now.

Same income, different obligations

The issue you will probably run into after your divorce is that your financial obligations have changed. You may have to now pay child and spousal support. You have to pay all the living expenses on your own as well.

Your finances will not look like they did during your marriage or even right after you separated during the divorce. You will need to do an inventory of your expenses to figure out how much money you have to devote to rebuilding your retirement accounts.

Review what you have

You will also need to go over your remaining retirement assets. You will want to check balances and decide if you need to make changes to your investments.

You will need to devise a new savings and investment plan that will allow you to reach your retirement goals in time. However, it also has to fit within the parameters of your new financial situation.

You may need to work with a financial planner to determine your next steps. This is especially true if you do not have a lot of experience with managing the money in your household, including your retirement accounts. It is important that you understand everything so that you can get back on the right track.

Where should we start with our divorce negotiations?

The negotiation process during a divorce can easily go off track and derail your efforts to wrap things up quickly and easily. To ensure it goes smoothly, you and your spouse need to be on the same page when it comes to how you will handle the process. 

U.S. News and World Report states that you need to both come into negotiations with the same mindset to working through things and pushing emotions aside. 

Find common ground

You should begin your negotiations by finding common ground. There are likely at least some points upon which you agree. If you start here, it sets a good tone for the rest of the process. At this point, if you come across things upon which you do not agree, set them aside for now. 

Circle back

After you iron out the easy things upon which you agree, you can come back to those things that are causing disagreements. Remember to keep your emotions in check. If you feel like you are starting to get too emotional about something, then take a break. You should work only if you can have meaningful discussions. 

Finish up

The last things you will work on are those hot button issues that you have yet to resolve. Approach them with the commitment to compromise and work together. Cool off when you need to, and make sure that you take time to listen to each other. These issues may take the most time to work through, so do not let discouragement take over if it takes multiple sessions to come to an agreement.