The financial burden of divorce is one of the areas that cause the greatest amount of stress and the most heated arguments. Our goal is to reduce that stress as much as possible for you, and that means ensuring that every financial aspect is appropriately addressed. Whether this is child support determinations, property division, debt allocation, alimony, or the actual court fees involved in filing for divorce, we can guide you through each step to save you the most amount of money possible. One of the most important, yet often overlooked, financial areas of divorce is the division of pension. Pensions or retirement funds can constitute a huge bulk of the money that is to be split between you and your spouse, yet they are often overlooked by couples during divorce litigation. In many cases, pensions are worth more than the total value of all the other property combined because they will typically be split after retirement, giving the funds time to accumulate over the years. As such, we will take the division of your retirement plan extremely seriously, and ensure that the division is fair according to the laws and financial circumstances of each spouse. The majority of mistakes that we see during the division of retirement benefits occur because lawyers lack experience and training in the specific area of pension division. It is more complex than meets the eye, and simply hiring a divorce attorney who does not have this specialized knowledge is not enough to ensure your success. This is why Christian Schank has a diverse team of attorneys who are experts in each complex aspect of family law. When you contact our office with a specific need, we are prepared with team members whose knowledge and expertise in family law as a whole is enhanced by the skills specific to the pension division.
In cases of pension division (and all other areas of divorce), it is absolutely essential that you have an attorney who has worked in Victorville county courts specifically. Pension division can be tricky and depends on the specific laws that are dictated by California counties. However, aside from the laws, the division of pension is determined mainly by the type of pension plan that you have in place and the terms of that plan according to your employment. Thus, it is also essential that you recruit an attorney who is shrewd and who will facilitate the best agreement possible between you and your spouse. Or, in the case of litigation, an attorney will defend your rights and ensure that you are not taken advantage of. After all, you worked hard to save up enough money for a comfortable and happy retirement and no one should take that security away from you.
When determining pension division in California, there are typically two routes that the couple can follow – negotiation or litigation. If the divorce was a mutual decision and it ended on relatively amicable terms, most couples choose the route of mediation. When determining pension division during a mediated divorce, the couple will look over the pension plan and calculate how the retirement fund will be split between themselves. This is usually done in the presence of a mediation attorney – one who understands the laws specific to Victorville and who knows the various calculations you can use to estimate and split the future retirement assets. We will inform you of each and every decision so that you fully understand what impact they will have on your future. The attorney can also help you prepare the paperwork necessary to finalize the negotiations and review all documents for errors. We will also ensure that the discussions between you and your spouse are peaceable so that personal disagreements do not cloud your judgment. Pension division can often be confusing, complex, and worrisome. However, our attorneys have helped countless couples through even the most complex, high-net-worth pension divisions. It would be difficult to stump anyone on our team, and we always see things through to the most satisfactory conclusion possible.
Of course, we also understand that peaceful negotiation is not possible for every couple. Sometimes, pension division must be debated before a judge, who will make the final decision. While courtrooms can be daunting places, we will help you walk into that courtroom with confidence, ready to fight for the money that you worked tirelessly to earn. Of course, litigated pension division can often make people feel out of control, which only adds to the stress of their separation. Our goal is to give you back as much of that control as possible, acting as your guide, your consultant, and your confidant.
Regardless of the way in which your pension will be divided, the forms for pension division are often one of the most difficult aspects. The most important of these forms is the QDRO or the Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This document requires you to answer questions about your employment and salary and the type of pension you will be receiving. You can also be asked to calculate an initial estimate of the pension division, which requires knowledge of the “Brown” (Time Rule) Formula and the laws of the community and separate property. As we mentioned earlier, the main reason why so many cases go awry is that the couple’s attorney did not have the experience needed to ensure that all the details of the QDRO are filled out correctly. It is absolutely essential to have an experienced and highly trained attorney review your documents before you turn them in, otherwise, you’re at risk of losing your hard-earned assets that could have otherwise been protected.
Pension division is often shrugged off as unimportant simply because retirement is typically a distant affair for most divorcing couples. However, we are not going to allow this huge bulk of your financial assets is pushed to the backburner. We will vigilantly examine all the details necessary to ensure that you are receiving no less than what you deserve, whether you are appealing to receive a portion of your spouse’s pension or you are fighting to protect your own. Call us today to discuss the details of your case at no cost to you.