If I’ve been married for 4 years, is my wife entitled to half of my accrued retirement during our marriage?

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If I’ve been married for 4 years, is my wife entitled to half of my accrued retirement during our marriage?

Asked on May 17, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In CA, community property is property acquired during marriage.  Community property also includes income during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  Separate property also includes income before marriage or after the marriage ends.

Your retirement pension is community property.  Your wife is only entitled to half of your retirement pension which represents income during the years of your marriage.  For example, if you were married for 4 years, but worked for your employer for 20 years, your wife would receive half of your pension which represented income during the four years of your marriage because that would be community property.  The portion of your pension which represented income during the remaining 16 years of your employment did not occur during marriage and is your separate property.  Your spouse has no claim to that portion of your pension because it is your separate property.


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