If I have been married just over a year and am thinking of getting divorced, is my wife entitled to my pension?

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If I have been married just over a year and am thinking of getting divorced, is my wife entitled to my pension?

I was employed as a union plumber and have switched careers. I have a 7 year pension that I will be taking out in 1 more year but I also have a pension from my new career that is only 1year old that will stay until I retire. I am only in my late 20’s.

Asked on November 11, 2011 under Family Law, Indiana

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you live in a community property state such as CA, your spouse would have a one half interest in that portion of your pension which represents earnings during marriage. 

Community property is property acquired during marriage which includes income during marriage.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  This includes income before marriage or after the marriage ends.  Your spouse has no claim to your separate property or income earned prior to marriage or after the marriage ends.

If you are married for one year, your income during marriage is community property.  Your spouse has a one half interest in community property.  Your spouse would have a one half interest in that portion of your pension that was the result of your income during that one year of marriage.   

Your spouse has no claim to that portion of your pension which represents earnings before marriage or after the marriage ends because that income and that portion of your pension is your separate property. 


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