Getting a divorce at any age in Illinois may put both persons’ retirement plans at risk. Older couples where there was one primary breadwinner face the greatest risk. However, even younger couples may find that making the wrong financial decisions during a divorce may cost them a big chunk of their retirement investments.

Many couples feel that in order to protect their retirement, they need to act against their partners. However, by working together, couples may find a solution that suits both parties. Remember that neglecting to disclose assets may pose problems later on.

Equitable versus community

NerdWallet points out that most U.S. states divide property according to equitable distribution. In these states, there is typically fair distribution based on who contributed what to the marriage. There are nine community property states, plus Alaska that allow people to opt in. In these states, property division generally follows a 50/50 split. Illinois is an equitable distribution state.

Take stock of the assets

Couples may start off by figuring out what assets are on the table between them. This may include not just retirement accounts, but real estate, stock and private business shares. Getting a full and honest picture of total shared assets as well as who brings what to the mix helps to make the division a little easier.

Consider a QDRO

Courts often use a qualified domestic relations order to divide the retirement spoils. This may have additional effects. For instance, a QDRO may make it easier for an ex-spouse to receive a portion of the other person’s pension even after the pensioner’s death. It may also provide access to the 401(k) without penalty. Rolling it into an IRA may help the receiving spouse to defer taxes.

Seek out extra income

Finally, Business Insider recommends finding a way to bring in some extra money. On average, divorce costs women 41% of their income and costs men 23% of theirs. To make up for that loss, individuals may consider participating in the gig economy, such as driving for Uber or renting out a room on Airbnb.

Getting out of a loveless marriage to pursue a happier life has its benefits. However, it is important that divorcees-to-be remember to prioritize their financial security down the road.