California Divorce : STRS & PERS Pensions Included In Judgment

California Divorce : STRS & PERS Pensions Included In Judgment

Hi, Tim Blankenship here with with this video we are talking about if you have a STRS or PERS pension, so we’re talking state teacher retirement system or public employee retirement system pension.

You want to make sure that you do include those on your divorce judgment, whether your case is amicable or not. Let me give you a for instance, many of our clients call us when we are handling their divorce and say they have no assets or debts and when I inquire further they say well we do have assets and debts but they are each in our own names and that’s fine, a lot of people keep their own assets or debts but we still want to include those on the judgment so you guys are protected.

Now, when it comes to certain pensions, in this case we’re talking about STRS and PERS, they are going to require that those assets appears specifically on your divorce decree on your judgment showing that you are receiving 100 percent of your pension, so even if you’re going to say no assets, no debts, at a minimum you need to include that you will be keeping your own STRS and or PERS or vice versa or whatever the case may be because when you go to take your ex spouse off of your, remove them as beneficiaries they’re going to say well show us that you have received or been confirmed in the divorce as your sole and separate property, your STRS and PERS pension.

So the point of this video is make sure you’re including at least those on your judgment, otherwise you’re going to need to file an amended judgment and usually in the form of a stipulation, which we recently had to do for a client who omitted an asset by mistake and when he called STRS they said sorry we can’t confirm this to you, you know we need to have it as part of the divorce decree and so we had to file an stipulation confirming the omitted asset to him as a sole and separate property, fairly easy fix it’s just better to make sure you’re listing your property because had he not listed this or forgot that he omitted it, the PERS and STRS basically said we can’t help you until you get this on there.

The asset was unconfirmed to either party so it kind of left the door open for division of that asset, so it’s just important to make sure you guys are declaring and confirming to each of you your sole and separate property. In this case specifically the STRS and PERS when it comes to pensions.

Santa Clarita Divorce : STRS & PERS Pensions Must Be Listed On Judgment

Santa Clarita Divorce : STRS & PERS Pensions Must Be Listed On Judgment

Whenever you are going through a divorce in California, part of the process is first disclosing your assets and debts which will ultimately end up on a judgment or marital settlement agreement.

What a lot of people think is that when an asset is in their name only, that it does not count or does not need to be listed. This happens a lot of times when people call me and say they have no assets or debts “together”. What they are saying is that they do have assets and debts, but that they are only in each of their names, and not together.

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But what they are not aware of is how California’s community property laws work. Essentially, community property is anything that was acquired during the marriage (with some exceptions). What this means in plain English is that it does not matter in whose name an asset or debt is in, it depends on when it was accrued.

So speaking of pensions and STRS and PERS specifically, this is where people say they have no assets to divide, but then later i find out they have pensions. When I ask why they didn’t state this, they say, “we’ll it’s only in my name”. You can see how this is not correct.

Here is a few issues. First, you may think you don’t have to disclose a particular asset because it is in your name only. That is not how it works. When you do your disclosure, you are listing all assets and debts, community and separate.

Second, if you don’t list your assets and debts on your judgment or marital settlement agreement, then you have no court order stating who is keeping that particular asset or debt and leave yourself exposed for future issues.

Third, is specific to STRS and PERS. We had a client who forgot to list his STRS pension on his disclosures and therefore it did not end up on his judgment. When he went to call STRS (State Teacher’s Retirement System) they said that his STRS pension was not listed on the judgment. The issue this caused is that they required language in the judgment that addressed his STRS pension. Specifically, they needed the judgment to say he was being awarded 100%. Otherwise, they were not going to be able to disburse his pension upon retirement and would not allow him to change beneficiaries. You can see how this is problematic.

This was all fixed by us filing a stipulation stating he was awarded his STRS pension, but this is an issue that could have been avoided.

The short story is that if you have assets and debts, no matter in whose name, you should disclose and those assets and debts need to be confirmed to one party or the other. This will keep you safe and help avoid problems down the road.