Can my wife just walk out and take half my retirement and pay before our divorce is finalized?

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Can my wife just walk out and take half my retirement and pay before our divorce is finalized?

My wife of 23 years wants to file for divorce. She has stated that as soon as she leaves, she is entitled to half my retirement and pay. Is this true until the divorce is finalized? I want to give her what she is entitled to but at the same time we live in a rental and need to fix a few things, get moved to smaller place and other things associated with getting rid of 23 years worth of stuff. Can she just walk out and take half?

Asked on September 3, 2012 under Family Law, California


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry to hear you are facing a divorce after 23 years of marriage.  I think your wife is over-simplifying things a bit.

She will be entitled to temporary spousal support after she initiates the divorce process, which will most likely be much less than half your income.  Regarding permanent support, a judge will usually award permanent support that is slightly less than the temporary award, according to several factors. 

Your pension will be divided based on the propertion that is her community property, which may be up to one half. 

As far as the stuff is concerned--if she takes more that her community property portion, you may be entitled to reimbursement. 

I would recommend hiring a local divorce attorney to guide you through this process and get the most fair resolution possible. Best of luck.

-Camarillo, Ventura County

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