How are Retirement Benefits Divided in a California Divorce? What You Need to Know
Saving for retirement takes years of building a strong portfolio for your golden years. Divorce can significantly impact how, where, and when you retire. California’s family code contains specific laws as to the division of assets and property. The legal representation of a California divorce lawyer can ease the stress of an emotionally difficult divorce.
Community Property & Retirement Plans
California law regarding divorce generally requires an even division of community property. This is the property obtained during the course of the marriage. Examples of community property include a house and retirement benefits.
Retirement plans and benefits come in many forms and from various types of investments, including:
- 401k Plans
- ROTH IRAs
- Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)
- Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
- Simplified Employee Pension
These are just a few examples of types of retirement plans possible. Retirement plans and the subsequent benefits are part of the overall community property subject to division in a divorce.
You worked hard to build your retirement, and parting with half of it isn’t easy. Ensuring that your divorce follows the rules established by California law is essential for successfully settling your community property —including your retirement benefits.
Division of Retirement Benefits
Divorce is typically a contentious time, and the fight over community property is intense. The emotions and tension of such a life event can cause all parties to prolong the process and create additional stress.
The parties may agree —or a court may order — for the spouse to receive a payout of half the benefits when the invested spouse retires. Another possibility for the division of community property is for the invested spouse to receive all the benefits while the non-invested spouse receives other community property types.
In addition to state laws, federal laws and regulations can apply to retirement plans. If your spouse was not enrolled in your plan, they have options for applying for benefits. The Employment Income Retirement Security Act (ERISA)provides oversight for a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
A QDRO is an order to pay a participant’s retirement plan benefits to an alternate payee —like a spouse. This type of order may come as a:
- State court judgment
- A decree or order
- Court approval of a property settlement
The complexity of the federal laws can overwhelm you if you try to handle your divorce alone. It is imperative that the division of assets, including retirement benefits, is done in such a way to comply with the law. It is also important for protecting your financial future in the best way possible.
Each divorce case is different and the outcome of your divorce will differ from others. Divorces involve specific details that can greatly affect your future. Do not let more time pass; contact a California divorce lawyer today.
How a California Divorce Lawyer Can Help You
The retirement benefits eligible for a one-half division in a California divorce are only those obtained during the marriage. Whether you and your spouse are amicable or there is animosity, the relationship can determine the outcome of divorce proceedings.
Securing legal representation can help you in a multitude of ways. A lawyer can do the following on your behalf:
- Negotiate a settlement with the attorney representing your spouse.
- File all necessary court and legal paperwork.
- Keep you informed throughout the process.
- Protect your interests the best way possible.
According to the American Psychological Association, 40-50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The division of community property is a standard part of the divorce process. When the community property includes your retirement plan, consulting with a California divorce attorney as soon as possible is vital for your case.
Retirement plans are intricate documents that require a careful review. For our team to serve you in the best way possible, we must review any information you have without delay. The more plans you have, the longer we need to read over your information. The sooner we review your retirement plans, the faster we can develop a course of action for a settlement or court.
Contact The Pedrick Law Group Today
Attorney Gregory J. Pedrick is a certified Family Law Specialist who stands ready to help you through this difficult time. At The Pedrick Law Group, we understand how stressful the dissolution of a marriage is for all family members.
This is why we always treat our clients with care and compassion. We aggressively represent them when it comes to settlement negotiations and legal proceedings. Most importantly, our team knows California and federal law as it applies to cases involving the division of retirement benefits.
The Pedrick Law Group offers free case evaluations, making it easy for potential clients to learn more about how we can help them. You have nothing to lose by reaching out to us today.
Hiring a lawyer can give you the peace of mind you need to continue your day-to-day tasks. Consistent updates from our friendly and professional team keep you informed as your divorce case progresses. We also welcome questions and concerns you may want to share.
Contacting the Pedrick Law Group without delay allows our team the time necessary to review your case. The various elements of a divorce, along with the complexity of state and federal laws, require a thorough examination.
Our team works hard to secure the best possible outcome of your divorce. You do not have to endure the process alone. A divorce is a highly emotional time that leaves you no time to deal with the legal details.
Gather your retirement information and other information pertinent to your divorce and contact us. The Pedrick Law Group proudly serves Encino and the Orange County region of California. Let us help you through this chapter of your life. Your retirement benefits represent your hard work and investments. While the division of one-half is often required by law, attorney Gregory J. Pedrick will explore all options for protecting your financial future.