CALG’s Kelly Woodruff and Robert Roth persuaded California’s Sixth District Court of Appeal to create law establishing that when a spouse acquires a new employment benefit after separation, the benefit is separate property and not part of the community even if the new benefit related to existing benefits.

In In re Marriage of Kelpe, CALG’s client was made an equity partner in a global accounting firm two years after separating from his wife. With that promotion, he became eligible to participate in two new, highly lucrative retirement plans in addition to the plans previously available to him. His ex-wife argued that the new retirement plans were merely an enhancement to his existing retirement plans, and were thus community property to which she was entitled. The Sixth District rejected that argument, finding that because the partner’s right to participate in the new retirement plans did not arise until after separation, the benefits flowing from those plans were entirely his separate property.

You can read the opinion by clicking here.