How Retirement Plans Are Divided In A Divorce
Along with their house, retirement plans can be some of the largest assets that a couple must divide during their divorce. The topic of how retirement plans are divided is a complex one, with different requirements and strategies employed depending on whether both spouses have a plan of their own, what type of plans they have and how much money they placed in their plan during the marriage.
Determining how to divide retirement plans can involve a number of professionals, including third-party plan administrators and pension experts. At Ruben Law Firm, a San Francisco-based firm, our attorneys have extensive experience in asset division during a divorce as well as many other family law matters. They can advise you on the best ways to proceed and assist you in filling out the necessary paperwork.
What Part Of My Retirement Plan Is Community Property?
The simplest answer to this question is that in a community property state such as California, money placed in the retirement plan prior to your marriage is considered separate property, and any funds placed there during the marriage are community property. However, the process of calculating the value of premarriage contributions and the future value of an existing pension can be quite involved. A lawyer at our firm can help you obtain accurate figures for these property categories, so your interests are well-represented during the proceedings.
Steps To Take To Divide Your Retirement Plan
- Identify the type of retirement plans you and your spouse have, and who the named beneficiaries are.
- Ask your attorney with our firm if the retirement plan will need to be “joined” to the divorce proceedings through a special court order known as a qualified domestic relations order.
- If you are an officer in the armed forces, ask about additional steps you may need to take to divide your military pension.
- If both you and your spouse have plans of approximately equal worth, consider agreeing to give up your share in each other’s retirement plan or to give up your share in their plan in exchange for receiving other community property assets.