Division of Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits are often the largest assets to be divided in a dissolution process. However, retirement benefits can be one of the most difficult assets to divide. There are numerous types retirement benefits. There are state petition plans, private pension plans and federal pension plans.

There is multistep process that must be followed in order to divide retirement plans successfully. The type of retirement plan dictates the steps that need to be taken to divide the plan.

Generally, there are three basic steps that need to be taken to effectively complete the division of retirement benefits.

1.      It is very important to first identify the type of plan. Determining the type of plan will is the first step in the division process.  There are federal pension plans that require specific division order. With wrong type of division order the nonemployee party may loose their interest in the retirement.

2.      The second step is to identify the community property interest in the plan. Generally, the date of marriage to the date of separation determines the community interest. Most law firms will hire an actuary firm to identify the nonemployee parties interest in the plan.

3.      Lastly, the amounts will be distributed. There are various ways that the money can be obtained by the nonemployee party depending on the plan and the nonemployee’s choice.

If a retirement plan is not divided correctly it is often too late to remedy the error because the retiring employee party may have passed away, the retirement money has been moved, or the court has lost jurisdiction.  It is essential to speak to a divorce attorney in Pleasanton, CA or Oakdale, CA to ensure that your interest in retirement in plans is well protected.