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Sometimes, the DIY divorce just is not the way to go

A lot of people in Missouri and elsewhere are do-it-yourselfers. There are a lot of benefits that accompany having this kind of attitude. However, some things are better left to those with experience. Divorce is a great example.

Yes, it is possible to file a DIY divorce. Plenty of people do. In doing so, though, they may not be getting the best settlements possible.

Figuring out property division and financial support can be a challenge. Some people will split their retirement accounts in order to keep things fair or get money to pay any agreed-upon support payments. If retirement accounts are not accessed the right way, though, the taxes and penalties one is forced to pay may be outrageous.

It is possible to avoid IRA penalties when accessed for the purposes of divorce, if it is done the right way. There is a process to it that many people may not know about if they try to go it alone. If using an IRA to pay a spouse or supply financial support, a QDRO is needed. This is an order that must be signed by a judge and sent in with the distribution request.

It is also possible to access money in an IRA without penalty with just a divorce decree, but any money taken must be rolled into another IRA account for the receiving party. If the money is not reinvested, taxes and penalties will be assessed. When already going through a tough financial transition, this is not something anyone really wants.

Missouri residents who are going through the divorce process can help themselves by seeking assistance from an experienced attorney. The extent of lawyer involvement is up to the client. One may request that his or her attorney handle everything or just review the proposed settlement terms in order to make sure they are fair and will serve one's best interests.

Source:, "Splitting retirement accounts is tricky for DIY divorce", Beth Pinsker, Accessed on Dec. 28, 2017

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