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Retirement assets in California divorce: A to-do list

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2020 | High-net Worth Property Division |

Divorce is difficult no matter what, but when disputes over significant assets are piled on top of the emotional turmoil, everything becomes more complex. Disagreements over the division of assets typically involve matters such as real estate, Chula Vista business interests, physical property, financial accounts, investments and more.

Retirement plans and pensions are often central in disputes over asset division, especially when one spouse has a career and income and the other stayed home and shouldered more child-raising duties and therefore has no savings or earnings.

We recently read an article that delved into options and advice for those facing a high-net-worth divorce involving retirement assets in which only one spouse generated income, including the following:

  • Get professional help: sit down with a family law attorney experienced in divorces with complex assets to discuss your situation. A knowledgeable lawyer will help you understand property division and California law as they apply to your circumstances.
  • Do the homework: learn about the rules governing division and use of the assets you and your spouse hold so that you understand the value of each and how each can be used post-divorce. A good financial advisor can be of tremendous help with homework.
  • Communicate: send copies of court orders and divorce agreements to account and plan custodians so that you’re never in danger of forfeiting assets.
  • Don’t forget debt: if debt is owed in a retirement plan, it is usually considered a joint obligation; another topic worth reviewing with your attorney and financial advisor.

There’s much more to cover when you sit down with a family law attorney, of course, including child custody disputes, child support, spousal support and other important matters.