Differences with wife on issues related to in-laws (California)

she has already started the process of "legal separation"

Check your county's family court to see if anything has been filed yet.

She said the only thing she wants is 50% of all our wealth.

Meaning half your wealth. That's how community property works. But it's not necessarily 50/50. There could be offsets arranged.

At what point do I hire an attorney?

Now.

If so, what would be the role of the attorney - to defend the legal separation or to make sure the assets get divided equally.

To file for divorce and protect your interests. Being separated and married is a horrible idea.

What happens to my retirement assets ? She is below the retirement age. Does this mean I have to liquidate them and pay 50% taxes and give her the rest.

Not necessarily. If you have IRAs and such, the accounts can be split into separate accounts under a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Then she can take her account and do what she wants with it. You would not have any tax liability.

A non-qualified investment account would work the same way but probably would not require a QDRO. She would open up her own brokerage account. Half the assets in your account would be transferred "in kind." You wouldn't have to sell anything and would incur no tax liability.

I am retired without a job, but do freelance and make some income (inconsistent though). Do I have to pay her 50% of my income every month? for how long? Similarly my wife works as a teacher (more stable). Does she have to pay me 50% of her salary?

Try this spousal support calculator. Again, doesn't necessarily have to be 50/50. Offsets can be worked out depending on the assets and income of each of you.


4. If she keeps our primary home, does it mean I have to move out?

You wouldn't have to, but you risk your sanity if you continue living with the (I'll be nice) woman.

Would she pay rent (which is expensive in our area)?

The way a house works is that you are each entitled to half the equity. If she gets the house she will have to pay you your half. If she doesn't have the money, that's where offsets come in. You can retain a larger share of your assets to compensate.

Assuming the legal separation process has started, how many months does this take in California?
What would be the approx cost an attorney would charge in CA?

My divorce in a community property state took two years. $20,000 in attorney fees and that was 25 years ago. A car that cost $20,000 in 1998 costs $50,000 today. YMMV. But if you want to keep your attorney fees under control learn how to compromise. It'll only hurt for a little while and then it will be over and you'll be free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, free at last. :)
 
You are right. I contacted one of the attorneys regarding our issue. He said:
1. For Legal separation, both of the parties have to agree, even in California. This is different from the other attorney I contacted.
2. Charges would be about $50K to $100K (at $400 per hour) depending on how long the negotiations go for the separation of the asset

Now,, my wife says she wants me to give her some amount if I want her to stop the legal separation process. To me this is pure blackmail. She doesnt realize whatever I earn is her's and our children's.
Reminds me of the goose story that laid golden eggs.The goose was laying 1 golden egg a day. The owner got greedy and decided to kill the goose so that he can take all the golden eggs instead of getting 1 golden egg per day!

Its strange how people change when it comes to money. They dont realize that when they leave this world they can't take even a penny with them....
 
Now,, my wife says she wants me to give her some amount if I want her to stop the legal separation process. To me this is pure blackmail.

Legal blackmail. Called negotiating. LOL.

Its strange how people change when it comes to money.

Love goes out the door when money comes in the window.

They don't realize that when they leave this world they can't take even a penny with them....

True, but they can sure enjoy it while they are here.

Kidding aside, CA has some seriously good self help guides, forms and instructions if you want to take a shot at filing for divorce without hiring a lawyer.


Once you get her served, she might see how serious things are and be willing to negotiate. No guarantees there. Maybe do a little blackmail of your own by telling her how much of her money will go to lawyers and that you can afford to drag it out for a year or two before she sees a nickel. That's not legal advice, just a personal comment based on almost getting screwed over during my divorce.
 
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