Can you treat retirement savings as separate in your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2022 | Divorce |

The closer to retirement age you are, the more important your retirement savings will be in your California divorce. When you picture your future, it may be your retirement years that you envision, and for some people, enjoying those years is the motivation for filing for divorce.

Making sure that you have enough resources to support yourself during retirement will be crucial. If you have set money aside for years to save for retirement, can you exclude your accounts from your California divorce proceedings?

Contributions during the marriage are typically marital property

Your retirement account may only be in your name, but at least some of the balance likely belongs to your spouse. Under the community property rules in California, contributions during a marriage are part of the marital estate and will therefore play a role in property division proceedings.

You may be able to protect retirement savings accrued before you got married and also any financial accounts that you categorized as separate property in a marital agreement with your spouse. While you will likely have to share the value of the account, you may be able to avoid fees and penalties if you follow the right procedures.

You could avoid the loss of your retirement savings by negotiating an agreement with your spouse before you go to court. You have the right to set your own property division terms in an uncontested divorce. Learning more about the rules that apply for property division proceedings in California divorces will help you prepare for life and retirement on your own.