Orange County Pension Division and Protection Lawyers
Among the many financial matters requiring resolution in a California divorce, division of 401(k) plans, other qualified retirement accounts, military pensions and other retirement assets is sometimes the most challenging.
Until they speak with an experienced lawyer, most people do not understand the complex legal requirements associated with dividing retirement accounts, pensions and other such assets — and some make the mistaken assumption that assets they have accumulated independently in their careers will remain theirs alone.
Knowledge Across the Spectrum of Benefits, Retirement Plans and Divorce
On a basic level, it is important to recognize that — like all other money and property accumulated during marriage — most retirement assets are subject to equal division between divorcing spouses under California law.
When it comes to this very important aspect of your divorce, however, counsel from a lawyer with extensive relevant experience is essential because:
- The required legal steps for dividing retirement assets and other deferred compensation depend directly on the type of plan and whether it is administered by a corporate or government entity.
- Most non-government benefit plans require preparation of a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) before actual division can take place — and variations in how a QDRO is written may factor into access to funds and other important issues.
- Division of military pensions and other retirement benefits is governed by federal law, including key stipulations about the length of the marriage.
What Will Happen To My 401(k) When I File For Divorce?
One of the most important issues that clients come to us with in their divorce is this: What will happen to my 401(k) when I file for divorce? This is an understandably concerning and stressful matter, as for most people their 401(k) includes a large portion of their retirement. The idea of splitting it with a soon-to-be former spouse is unsettling. While there is no clear-cut answer that can be applied to all divorce cases, the best answer is to make sure your divorce attorney is not only experienced but also skilled in negotiating, mediating or litigating property division disputes.
In California, all marital property is divided equally among spouses. This is called community property law. While this may sound simple enough, it is determining what property is marital property and then valuating it that can make the issue very complicated. Your 401(k) could be considered marital property as some, if not all of it, may have been earned during your marriage.
We will do a thorough analysis of all your assets and liabilities as well as those of your former spouse, making sure that you walk away from your divorce with your fair share. When it comes to your retirement funds, including your 401(k), we will aggressively advocate for your best interests. This may include offering your spouse an asset equivalent in value so that you can avoid splitting your 401(k). Our Newport Beach family law attorneys can go over your specific options in an initial consultation. To discuss your 401(k) concerns, please contact us online.
Consult Orange County Attorneys Who Emphasize Diligence And Efficiency
Arriving at a settlement agreement and even obtaining a judgment for division of funds is often not enough to wrap up matters associated with retirement accounts in divorce. It is critical to work with a lawyer who has prepared and reviewed many QDROs and other types of orders essential for protection of client interests.
At the Burch Shepard Family Law Group, you can work with Board-Certified Family Law Specialists respected for their knowledge of complex property division, QDROs and military benefits issues.
For proven protection of your financial interests in divorce, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at our Newport Beach law offices.
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