Dividing assets such as pensions and retirement accounts can be a little more complicated than more liquid assets, such as a savings account.
Since California is a community property state, even if the pension, retirement of 401k account is in the name of just one party, anything accrued or deposited into the account during the marriage is considered community property. Additionally, these accounts may also contain some separate property interests so it is very important to have an experienced family law attorney to help navigate though the division of these assets.
Once the amount belonging to each party has been agreed upon, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, QDRO, must be composed and submitted to the judge for final order. After approval of the judge, the QDRO can then be submitted to the agency managing the pension or retirement accounts. This way, the funds can be disbursed to each party appropriately, without either party suffering tax consequences for early withdrawal.
Richard Ross Associates almost always recommends hiring an attorney over handling your divorce yourself, however this is especially true when pension or retirement accounts are involved. A QDRO is a complicated document and unless it is crafted precisely, it can be rejected by the judge and/or agency managing the accounts.
Don't make your case more complicated than it needs to be - contact Richard Ross Associates today and we can put your mind at ease.