Here in North County San Diego, how are retirement assets usually divided in a North County divorce? Retirement assets are usually characterized as “community property” and therefore must be divided equally as part of the community property division process. If the parties retirement assets are 401(k)s the Court must issue separate orders for the division of the retirement asset. These are accomplished with a (QDRO).
The challenge is there is no “boilerplate” format for QDROs. Each retirement plan has its own Qualified Domestic Relations Order which it prefers to use. Our attorneys work with the plan to properly structure enforceable orders and complete the QDRO so that it may be accepted by the court and the 401k administrator.
Pension plans are generally handled in the same manner. Any retirement or pension plan you participated in or funds deposited prior to your marriage should be considered “separate” from the community property and our attorneys work diligently to ensure proper calculations are made to protect our client’s separate property from the community. It is also important to remember to change the beneficiaries listed in your retirement plans after your divorce.
Social Security benefits are not divisible as an asset, however the benefits of Social Security can and will affect issues such as spousal support. There are benefits for those who have been married for more than 10 years and when other circumstances are present. For example, the former spouse of a social security recipient who was in a marriage lasting 10 years or more is entitled to receive 50% of those benefits without affecting the payment received by the former spouse.
The question of how are retirement assets usually divided in a North County divorce and the associated paperwork can be quite legally complex and it is important to work with experienced and proven Carlsbad divorce attorneys at Burke & Domercq, APC. We invite you to contact us or call 760-389-3927 to schedule an appointment.