When you’re divorcing and have many significant assets, you may need to take a different approach than usual. While California is a community property state, meaning that you should divide your assets around 50/50, it is possible that you could divide your property differently.
Any property or debts involved in your marriage are subject to equal division, but there are exceptions that you may want to use to help protect your personal savings or certain assets that you put your time and effort into developing.
How can you appropriately divide your retirement accounts?
With retirement accounts, it’s important to consider a few factors. First, the person who has built up the account has to be considered. Depending on your age, it may be difficult to recoup losses at this time, so you may want to negotiate other assets in exchange for maintaining your account as it is.
If your spouse is reliant on you for support, you may need to divide this account with them. Alternatively, you could consider paying them their share now if they’re willing to take liquid assets or cash in exchange for their share of that account.
For other large assets, the same kind of process could be used. Think about the total value of the marital estate. Then, divide that in half to figure out approximately how much each person should receive in total assets.
Once you know how much your marital assets are worth and how much each person should receive in terms of value, you can begin dividing assets. Perhaps you both have retirement accounts in your own name that you can keep for yourselves but have other assets that could be used, like boats or property, to balance out any imbalances in the overall value of what each person is receiving. In some cases, selling property and dividing the profits is a good choice.
Every marriage is different, so for one with significant assets, working with financial advisors, tax advisors, attorneys and other professionals may be a good idea. With the right professional support, you will have a better idea of the true value of your assets as well as how the court would prefer to see them divided.