For many couples in California, divorce leads to intense emotions and disagreement. Especially when it comes to the division of your property, you may feel strongly about what is right or fair. Your ex may have a different opinion, and neither of your expectations may align with what a judge would decide when they apply community property rules to your marital estate.
Your most valuable assets will likely trigger the most intense disagreements. If you have accrued a significant amount of retirement savings in preparation for your golden years, how can you potentially protect those savings in a California divorce?
Determine how much is marital property
Although the account may be only in your name, what you have deposited into the account during your marriage is community property. Only those who have marital contracts can potentially prevent their spouse from having a claim to certain property or income from during the marriage.
Otherwise, the amounts that you deposited and even the amounts that your employer contributed as a work benefit will likely be on the table for property division purposes in your divorce. A family law judge could order you to split the account or could use the value of the retirement account to balance out other decisions that they make.
You don’t have to turn to a judge
Even in divorces where the spouses at first feel they cannot agree on anything, compromise is sometimes possible. Through mediation or negotiations involving your lawyers, you may be able to arrive at a mutually-agreeable settlement for property division.
If you reach an agreement and file for an uncontested divorce, you will have the power to protect certain assets, like your retirement account. You may need to make compromises in other areas, which is why identifying your priorities is it important step when preparing for mediation or settlement negotiations.
Learning about how the courts handle your most valuable asset will make it easier for you to protect your finances and your future in a California divorce.