Divorce Cases Involving Government Retirement Plans, Military Benefits, And Union-Sponsored Plans
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Retirement benefits often comprise the bulk of the marital estate. Dividing retirement accounts is one of the most important aspects of divorce cases. Private ERISA plans, Federal and state employee retirement plans (FERS, CSRS, TSP), military retirement benefits, railroad retirement benefits and union sponsored benefit planspresent unique issues in divorce.
Each of these types of retirement benefits commonly encountered in divorce are very different. For example, CSRS members receive a larger monthly pension, but no Social Security; in contrast employees entitled to FERS receives both a pension benefit and Social Security. It is important for family law attorneys to understand how to distinguish the differences and analyze benefit statements and Plan documents. Errors can result in loss of benefits (or overpayment) to the non-employee spouse.
Division of an FERS or CSRS annuity by a court order can have significant repercussions. One of the most serious repercussion can be the loss of survivor benefits to the non-participant spouse if the judgment of divorce is not drafted properly.
Considering the prevalence of pitfalls, the potential impact of errors, and the frequency that divorce actions involve these types of assets, practitioners must anticipate and avoid mistakes in drafting the settlement agreement or judgment of divorce, and the Orders effectuating the division of these types of assets.
Listen as our panel of experienced attorneys discusses best practices for drafting and structuring settlements and judgments of divorce and QDROs, and offers practical solutions to prevent the most prevalent errors.
- Federal and state employee retirement plans unique aspects
- Military Retirement plans unique aspects
- Other unique benefit plans
- Drafting considerations in the pension division section of settlement agreements, judgments of divorce and QDROs
- Common pitfalls and mistakes to avoid
The panel will review these and other key issues:
- What unique considerations should counsel be aware of involving federal and state employee retirement plans, military pension plans and union sponsored benefit plans?
- What are the most common drafting errors in settlement agreements or judgments of divorce relating to federal and state employee benefit plans?
- What retirement information should be requested and reviewed prior to drafting or reviewing a settlement or a QDRO?
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