Retirement Benefits: I Earned Them So They Are Mine, Right?

Posted February 7, 2013 in Family Law by kfrench.

When parties consider divorce or separation they are rightfully concerned about their property. For example, parties may contemplate who will get the house, the dog, the cars, or even the family’s prized Dyson vacuum cleaner. But what about retirement benefits? They don’t typically rank at the top of the “coveted marital property” list, but maybe they should. If you have worked for an organization for most of your adult life, you and your spouse may be entitled to substantial benefits.

Under the California Family Code, retirement benefits are divisible community property assets and will be affected by divorce, legal separation, or termination of domestic partnership. Even if the party that earned the benefits has not yet retired and has no immediate plans to retire, all retirement benefits accrued during a marriage or domestic partnership are fair game when the parties decide to part ways. In fact, the non-earning spouse is generally entitled to fifty percent of any retirement assets accumulated during the marriage.

Division of retirement benefits can be complicated and may implicate complex tax issues. The Lonich & Patton team, which includes several certified Family Law Specialists who are certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, offer decades of experience handling complex family law matters. If you are contemplating divorce, legal separation, or termination of a domestic partnership or have been served in an action for divorce, legal separation, or termination of a domestic partnership, please contact Lonich & Patton for further information.

Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results.  While this post may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice.  Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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