Retirement Benefits

EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION ON RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

Retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans, pensions, IRA, deferred compensation plans or annuities are subject to equitable distribution in a divorce or legal separation. Generally, retirement accounts are divided equally starting from the date of the marriage to the date of commencement of the divorce action or legal separation. This means if you have money that accumulated into your retirement account prior to the date of the marriage or after the date of commencement of the divorce or separation, that amount is considered separate property and your spouse is not entitled to it.

If you are one of the few lucky people who also has a pension plan, there are post-retirement cost of living adjustments and death benefits that your spouse is entitled to in a divorce or separation. Pension plans are divided based on a complicated mathematical formula that was outlined in a case called Majauskas v. Majauskas, 61 N.Y.2d 481 (1984).

Many attorneys do not know the ins and outs of pension plans and do not include key language in divorce agreements that would benefit their clients. Our attorneys have reviewed many divorce and separation agreements that were drafted by other lawyers that did not mention certain benefits that would have greatly benefited their clients.

When it comes to retirement accounts rest assured that our firm is knowledgeable on the law. If you are a member of the NYPD, the FDNY or have a military pension, we know how to work certain language into your divorce agreement that would minimize the portion of equitable distribution that your spouse would otherwise be entitled to. 

Call our office to learn more about your retirement accounts and what we can do to help protect your interests.

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