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San Francisco Division of Retirement Benefits Lawyer

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Pensions, IRAs And 401(k)s

Retirement savings are a significant asset in most divorces, often representing the largest portion of a couple’s wealth. California law considers retirement accounts acquired during marriage community property, even if one spouse was the sole or primary earner, and made most of the financial contributions to the assets. As with other aspects of asset division, valuing and dividing these assets is theoretically simple, but can be complex and contentious, depending on the circumstances of the case.Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., handles division of pensions, IRAs and 401(k)s in your California divorce. Our experienced divorce attorneys identify which portion of retirement funds are separate property, helping clients divide those accounts or offset one spouse’s community property interest in other ways.Our San Francisco firm regularly handles complex property division, including high net worth divorces, throughout the Bay Area.

Dividing Retirement Interests In Divorce

Contributions to a 401(k), IRA, pension, or other qualified plan before marriage generally remain the separate property of the contributing party. However, all contributions during the marriage, and all interest or appreciation earned during the marriage, are presumed to be community property. Family law employs a “time rule” formula (years of marriage divided by years of contributions) to determine the non-contributing spouse’s proportional pension benefit.

In dividing retirement accounts incident to a divorce, there are many factors to consider, such as the dates when you are eligible to receive pension benefits or access retirement funds, which depend on your age or the rules of the employer’s plan. We help you understand these issues and decide how you want to address retirement assets. Our lawyers will carefully explain the various options, so you can chart the most desirable course in view of your present financial circumstances and long-term goals, in consideration of tax consequences. For example, you may decide to:

  • Each keep your own retirement accounts and offset the difference
  • Divide the accounts through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)
  • Trade retirement assets for equity in the home or a business

“While my experience was personally trying, I had no doubts I was getting top quality legal representation. Everyone at the firm was professional and considerate. I was fortunate to be referred to the Schoenberg Family Law Group, and would recommend them.”

— Anonymous testimonial from a satisfied client.

Protecting Your Fair Share And Your Future

Dividing retirement assets requires sophisticated understanding of characterization, valuation, distribution, and taxation of these accounts. Debra R. Schoenberg is a Certified Family Law Specialist* with over 35 years of experience in analysis, negotiation, and litigation of property division. She is a renowned author and lecturer on these topics, and she leads a team of accomplished trial lawyers who are committed to safeguarding your best interests.

To speak with San Francisco attorneys who expertly handle division of retirement benefits, contact us online or call us at 415.834.1120.

* Certified in family law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

More About Honors & Awards
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10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2020 Most Trustworthy Companies of the Year
100 TOP WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES Women Who Lead
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF MATRIMONIAL LAWYERS (AAML)
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
2021 LGBTQ-OWNED BUSINESSES Business Pride
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Recorder Law Business Technology Best of 2021 Winner
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
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