Can You Keep Your Year-End Bonus Out of Your Divorce?
For certain couples, a spouse’s year-end bonus is a significant part the couple’s yearly earnings. If you live in California, which is a community property state, than your spouse is legally entitled to half your bonus, since a martial estate is evenly split between each spouse. If you are considering a divorce, you may not wish to hand over half of your bonus to a spouse you no longer love and appreciate.
Are there ways to protect your bonus? Well, the date you legally separate, which can be done by filing a petition for separation with the court and serving notice to your spouse, is usually the point at which you can severe yourself from the martial estate. That means all future income, including your bonus, should be fully yours.
However, if you file for divorce shortly before you earn an expected bonus, your spouse may be able to argue that you are trying to hide assets, and a court could rule in his or her favor and even penalize you! Also, if your spouse suspects that you cheated him or her out of your bonus, you may face a much more acrimonious, difficult, and expensive divorce fight than you would have if you simply shared the wealth. Before you make any major moves, contact a divorce attorney for guidance. If you live in Temecula, Murrieta or Surrounding Areas, contact the attorneys at Albrecht & Albrecht for experienced divorce advice and guidance.