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One of the biggest marital assets that must be addressed during your divorce is your pension plan. New York State considers any money contributed to your pension plan throughout the course of your marriage to be marital property. All marital property is subject to equitable distribution. This means that your ex-spouse is entitled to a share of your retirement plan when you file for a divorce.
DROs and QDROs
Domestic Relations Orders (DRO) and Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) are court orders that outline how your pension plan is to be divided. Your pension will not be evaluated, or divided, unless there is a DRO or QDRO on file.
Preparing a DRO or QDRO is very difficult, and must be completed by a firm that specializes in evaluating pensions. It is important to make sure your divorce attorney is experienced handling DROs.
The Majauskas Formula
Your spouse is only permitted to claim a portion of your pension that was earned during the course of your marriage. Usually, exact amount they are entitled to is determined by the Majauskas Formula:
50% x the total amount of the pension earned during the marriage ÷ the total service credit at the time of retirement.
Let’s assume you have contributed to your pension during the course of your 15 year marriage, and retire with 30 years of total service credit. After applying the Majauskas Formula (.50 x 15 ÷ 30), it would be determined that your ex-spouse’s share of your pension benefit is 25% of the total amount.
Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.
Figuring out how to address your pension during your divorce is complicated. It is far too risky to try to handle a QDRO matter on your own. Having an experienced legal team on your side is the only way to guarantee that your pension is handled correctly.