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Investments can play important role in property division

Investment and bank accounts are often overlooked in property division. They are, in some cases, pushed aside by the houses, cars and assets with sentimental attachments. True, not everything in divorce amounts to money -- sentimental value is also important. But in ensuring that a divorcee fights for what he or she is entitled to, it is imperative to consider the less obvious assets. By doing so, California divorcees may be able to reach a fair and equal property division settlement.

Divorcees may have assets that may be a vital source of future income. These include insurance policies, employee benefits, stock options or pensions. They may be in possession of these assets without even knowing it. Or, perhaps, one spouse has such options and the other is completely oblivious to the fact. In any case, it is important that divorcees are aware of what they own.

Once they become aware of what assets are owned or jointly owned, divorcees may then begin to strategize. Dividing assets associated with retirement and investment accounts may not be as easy as it may seem. For example, retirement plans that are run by employers such as pension plans, 401ks and the like are regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. In some cases, this makes it necessary to employ a court order -- namely, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO can help circumvent tax issues.

Some divorcees may need to employ a QDRO. Others may not. Every divorce situation is unique and thus demands individualized attention. With individualized attention and expert help, it is often possible to devise unique and strong divorce strategies that accommodate for each divorcee's unique goals and needs.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "If Divorcing, Divide Investments With Care," Lisa Ward, April 6, 2014

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