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You will likely need to split your employer pension in a divorce

Divorcing typically means that you will have to figure out a way to split up your assets and debts. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement that guides the process, you and your spouse will need to come to terms on your own or let the courts divide your assets in compliance with California state law.

Most people recognize that assets like their family home are subject to division in the divorce. There are other assets, however, that typically get considered marital property that people may believe they own independently. Retirement account and pensions are a perfect example.

You may have started your job before you got married, and your employer may provide a matching contribution to your pension as one of your employment benefits. You might assume that your pension is immune from asset division in a divorce, but you would be wrong.

Any deposits made during the marriage will likely end up divided

In general, anything you earned or acquired during your marriage is marital property. All marital property should be divided between spouses in the event of a divorce. That will include pension funds controlled by an employer, even if it is a benefit of your employment.

People may think that because their pension account opened prior to their marriage that it is separate property. In reality, only the funds deposited prior to the marriage remain separate property. Any deposits, including employer matching contributions, made during your marriage become marital property, owned in part by both you and your spouse.

The courts will divide your retirement assets in a divorce, and they will do so based on the date of deposit, not the name on the account or the initial date that you established the account.

You may need to adjust retirement expectations

You have likely been planning your retirement for some time. It takes decades to fully fund a retirement on a standard income. Unfortunately, you're planning likely did not include splitting a significant portion of the money you have saved and invested with your spouse in a divorce.

Getting back to financial stability after a divorce takes a little time. You will likely have to adjust your standard of living and expectations until you reach new financial equilibrium. The closer you are to retirement age, getting back to financial stability after divorce takes a little time. You will likely have to adjust your standard of living and expectations until you reach new financial equilibrium.

The closer you are to retirement age, the more likely it is that you will have to compromise your expectations for retirement after a divorce. The good news is that it is better to retire happily single with half of your retirement than to stay in a marriage that makes you miserable just to have access to your pension during your retirement.

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