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Pensions & Retirement Benefits

The division of pension and retirement benefits is one of the most complicated aspects of property division in a California divorce. Because California is a community property state, the law directs (unless parties agree otherwise) that marital property is to be divided equally. In order to do this, it is essential to be able to accurately value, and effectively divide, pension and retirement benefits. The division of these benefits is no small matter, as they are often the largest asset a couple owns aside from the marital home. 

Because they are acquired over a span of years, often decades, pensions and other retirement benefits such as 401(k)s  may be partially separate and partially marital property, making their division especially complex. 

Division of California Pensions and Retirement Plans

At Shaffer & Associates, family law is all we do. We have handled hundreds of divorces in San Diego and the surrounding region, including division of California and private pensions and retirement plans. Among the plans and benefits with which we assist divorcing clients are: 

  • California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) pensions
  • California State Teachers Retirement System  (CalSTRS) pensions
  • Private (corporate-sponsored) pensions
  • Simplified Employee Pensions (SEP plans)
  • Military pensions
  • Federal government plans
  • 401(k)s
  • 403(b)s
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Roth IRAs
  • Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees (SIMPLE IRAs)
  • Employee Stock Option Plans (ESOPs)
  • Profit-sharing plans

Depending on the type and origin of the retirement benefit, different rules may apply to division of the plan. It is critical to have attorneys who are familiar with the type of retirement benefit you are seeking to value and divide. At Shaffer & Associates, we deal with the broad spectrum of pensions and retirement benefits, and we work with financial professionals who are experienced in preparation of the Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and other documents necessary to properly divide these various accounts.   

It is very important to address all issues relating to pension and retirement benefits during the divorce, as opposed to waiting until you or your spouse retire. Waiting creates uncertainty and may lead to a loss of rights to a significant marital asset.

Family Law Attorneys Serving San Diego and the Surrounding Communities

The San Diego family law attorneys of Shaffer & Associates serve San Diego County and the surrounding communities, including Orange County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County. Contact Shaffer & Associates online or call (619) 595-3167 today to consult with us about the division of retirement benefits and pensions in your California divorce.

San Diego Bar AssociationSection of Family LawCalifornia State Bar Family Law American Bar Association Avvo Clients' Choice 2014