California is a community property state which means that any assets acquired during the marriage are subject to division in the event of a divorce with certain exceptions. If there are assets in a retirement account that were acquired during the marriage and before separation, then yes an ex-spouse might have a valid claim to part or all of the retirement account assets. If the divorce has already been finalized, it will depend on what the judgment says. If the judgment either awards the retirement account to your spouse or divides it between the parties, then the judgment is binding on both parties.
If the dissolution judgment does not specifically mention the retirement account, then it is considered an omitted asset, and the family court, under California Family Code section 2556, retains the jurisdiction to divide the omitted asset even years after a divorce is finalized. There a few exceptions where a family law court may decide not to divide an asset that was not subject to the judgment, but these circumstances are particular to the facts of a case. It is important that a divorcing couple include everything in the settlement agreement or final judgment otherwise, the parties risk ending up in divorce court years later over an asset in dispute that was omitted during the divorce proceedings.
The division of assets in any San divorce is a complicated and technical process. It has the potential to affect both of the parties’ for years to come. For this reason, individuals that are considering dissolution of marriage should consult with a divorce lawyer that handles the division of assets in divorce on a daily basis. For years, the certified family law experts at Hoover Krepelka, LLP have assisted clients finalize the division of assets in divorce proceedings including retirement accounts. For a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced San Jose divorce lawyer, contact us today.