Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
Technically speaking the second you are married, any assets earned or obtained once married are considered to be communal. Any growth in value, such as for your retirement, likewise becomes communal going forward. If, for example you have a pension plan worth $40,000 during marriage, and it is worth $50,000 6 months later, half of the growth (the $5,000) is technically something your spouse could pursue. Similarly retirement evaluations use the same calculation from date of marriage to date of retirement to figure out each spouse's fair share.
Hope that helps.
I have a government retirement that I will get when I retire, but it wont be for many more years. I want to pursue a divorce, so does that mean I have to have an agreement of some kind worked out before I can file for divorce which will be part of the divorce? Or can I just file for the divorce and say nothing about the retirement and if my husband wants to fight me about it, he will have to take me to court?
Thank you for your follow-up. Typically your divorce settlement agreement can address the retirement situation. Perhaps the other spouse will choose to waive his rights and obligations but perhaps not--those terms are typically negotiated and written up before a divorce agreement is signed, and final dissolution is ordered. You do not need an agreement when you file for divorce, but to finally get a divorce settled you both would need to agree to some sort of set of terms.
Dimitry, do you think I need to hire a lawyer to do the divorce settlement agreement concerning my retirement, or is this something a paralegal can do?
A paralegal cannot generally represent you, he or she can typically help you file the paperwork on your own. To be frank, if you have a decent education and have the ability understand the process, you can do this on your own. The attorney only comes in if the other party does not agree to terms and tries to complicate the situation. Then costs rise for both of you. Hiring a paralegal is best if all of you agree to terms, so the pare can easier help you file. Otherwise do it on your own, or retain counsel if the other spouse creates more difficulty. A paralegal by itself is not sufficient in that case, and you would still need to retain counsel.
Hope that helps clarify. Good luck to you!
Can you point me in the right direction on where to look on how to write up my own divorce settlement agreement? Do you know of a template I could use or a website to go to?
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