Couples who are going through a divorce and have an IRA in the marital estate often miss this IRA benefit, albeit small, in their settlement structure.

Let’s say you and your spouse agree to include the IRA as part of the settlement structure. To keep this scenario simple, let’s also say you and your spouse agree that you will allocate 50% of the IRA to your spouse. While you are married you may be allowed to contribute monies toward your spouse’s IRA and get a tax deduction. Once you get divorced this opportunity is no longer available to you.

So, if the plan is to provide your spouse part of your IRA why not make a small portion of that tax deductible while you are still married. You can consider the contribution an early payout and account for it in your settlement structure.

It is important to note, if your divorce is nearing the end of the tax year and you are just about to finalize your papers then you want to be careful about your tax filing status. Why? Let’s say you made a contribution to your spouse’s IRA and expect to take the deduction (assuming you are eligible to take the deduction). Yet, you finalized your divorce before the end of the year. The day after you finalize and file the requisite papers of your divorce your tax filing status changes from married filing jointly to either single or head of household (a negotiable component). If you are no longer married filing jointly you do not qualify for the deduction to contribute to your spouse’s IRA.

If your circumstances are different and you are still married filing jointly at the end of the year then you might as well have an agreement to contribute to your spouse’s IRA and consider that as an early payout as part of your settlement structure.

About the Author

Larry Smith is a Founding Partner of Divorce Outcomes, a specialized professional services firm that manages all of the financial aspects in a divorce process. Since 2003 he has worked as a trusted financial advisor, financial advocate, divorce architect and technical financial expert; he is not an attorney. He is an alumni of KPMG and Andersen with expertise in technical accounting, forensics, sophisticated taxation, management consulting, risk management, advanced process engineering, business combinations, divorce management, multi-party negotiations, advanced quality analytics and cognitive performance technologies. Since 1986 Larry has been advising individuals and organizations about innovative financial solutions to resolve complex financial challenges that arise in life and in business.

For both personal and business divorces, Larry is considered an expert in divorce strategies, divorce process management, financial divorce architecture, financial risk management, taxation for divorces, financial divorce forensics, advanced divorce analytics, financial divorce negotiations and mediation, business valuations and sophisticated equity structures. He helps clients shape complex financial decisions, manage communication risks and ever-changing negotiating positions to strategically preserve or grow wealth from these types of transactions.

If You Have a Question

If you have a question, feel free to contact me at [email protected] or 617-680-5222. The call is free. I will spend 30–60 minutes with you. I will provide you an honest assessment as to where I think you are positioned in your divorce process or answer any questions you have. I may provide you some guidance, insight or advice that you can take with you as you wish. There is no obligation to move forward. The phone call is designed to ease your fears, provide you some options to pursue and a potential road to run on that can lead you down a path to achieve a successful outcome.

About Divorce Outcomes

Divorce Outcomes is a specialty services firm that helps people both domestically and internationally manage all of the financial decisions that arise in their divorce process. We are not attorneys. We are financial experts who partner with our clients as their personal financial advocates. We help our clients manage their divorce process, uncover hidden financial risks, architect divorce solutions, manage ever-changing negotiating positions, communicate complex financial matters and close the divorce process as soon as possible with a goal to arrive at the best outcomes possible. Throughout the process we evaluate the current state of our clients’ financial lives with an objective to best reposition their future. We do not sell any products. We simply raise issues that are in our clients best interest. Our clients share with us we:

  • unfold, analyze and repackage their financial life so they are well positioned after their divorce 
  • preserve the value of their business or marital estate
  • continuously strive to provide a return on our services
  • build balanced financial solutions grounded in evidence
  • find ways to make our client, and at times both parties, money through the process
  • design their divorce to work for them and their family’s life
  • provide mental clarity to make decisions
  • reduce the total process time from start to close
  • minimize the stress and unpleasant memories that can last a lifetime

As we reach an agreed upon settlement structure, we help our clients identify a fitting attorney who can leverage the financial solution to draft and record the requisite legal documents. Where outcomes are at risk from a traditional process, we function as expert financial negotiators or financial mediators to turn around the situation and achieve our client’s desired outcomes.

Learn more about us at or review our blogs to gain a clearer understanding about our approach and how we maximize the financial outcomes for our clients.


This communication is for general informational purposes only which may or may not reflect the most current developments. It is not intended to constitute formal advice or a recommended course of action as every person’s situation is unique and different. The information here is not intended to be, and should not be, relied upon by the recipient to make a decision without professional guidance.

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