Many couples in California and all around the nation are separating, yet still remaining married to one another. When celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain recently passed away, this scenario was found to be true for him. He had never gotten a divorce, though he had been separated for quite some time. While couples may have a variety of reasons for doing this, it is worth noting that the practice may have significant implications regarding property division.
The couples who are separated may behave as though they are divorced. However, they are still married according to the law. Therefore, laws pertaining to taxes, estate planning, retirement accounts and other spousal rights would come into play. Financial experts acknowledge that the scenario could affect couples both positively and negatively.
To the Internal Revenue Service, a separated couple is still married. If there is a suspicion that one spouse did not adequately report income, the IRS could pursue the other spouse. Another area of concern regards a spouse’s inheritance rights. One party might fully intend to change a will or may have already changed it. However, courts can waive a will, and a “forced share” can occur.
Retirement accounts can also be a major point of contention for separating couples. While separated, a spouse typically has no information or rights regarding retirement plans of the other spouse. However, when someone formally files for divorce, there is an order that prevents the movement of funds.
In addition to property division, there are many other issues to discuss when a couple decides to end a marriage. To ensure that someone’s interests are protected, both currently and in the future, it is imperative to seek the advice of an experienced California divorce attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will be a valuable partner throughout every phase of the divorce proceedings.