Marital property division is much more complex that you might realize, especially in California. It can make the divorce process last months or even years. “Marital property” isn’t just the land you live on, in fact, it’s much more. One of the more complex issues surrounding a California divorce that falls under marital property is the division of retirement plans.
Many spouses feel strongly that their retirement plans should not be shared with their spouse when they split, because it’s from their job and has their name on it. However, that’s not the way the law usually works.
There are several types of retirement plans that your spouse may be able to claim, including 401Ks, 403Bs, IRAs, pensions and stock ownership plans.
When a spouse determines that retirement plans qualify as marital property, he/she could consider getting a “qualified domestic relations order” (QDRO). Forbes defines this is as as a court order that addresses the division of certain types of retirement plans like a 401K or a pension. When a QDRO is used retirement funds can be transferred without the normal penalty fees.
If you’re close to retirement, you should accept that a divorce will more than likely substantially affect your finances once you’ve stopped working. Work with an experienced family law attorney in California to assess the best scenarios for you and how to achieve them.