Valuing and Dealing with Retirement in Divorce

In some cases, a couple's pension may be worth more than their home. Pensions have a present value, or time value of money. This determines what today's money is worth tomorrow. Calculating pensions can be difficult because it is often hard to determine what they will be worth in the future. In many divorce cases, one spouse fails to appreciate just how much of his or her share of the spouse's pension is worth, The parties should determine if the spouse has other pension or retirement plans from other employers. Then, the couple needs to determine the type of retirement benefit of each of these plans. Retirement plans can normally be a defined benefit or a defined contribution. 401ks are an example of a defined contribution.

If your spouse has a defined benefit plan, this will require professional attention, as it may be difficult to divide a pension of this nature. Normally, the increases of the value on the pension that were earned while the couple was married are considered marital property and subject to distribution. As a spouse, you have a legal right to a portion of your spouse's pension. You may want to call in a professional to determine the present value of the benefit to make sure that you get your fair share.

When a spouse earns part of another spouse's pension on the dissolution of marriage, the pension will come in the form of a QDRO or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. These QDROS have the effect of court orders, and specify the amount that was paid to the spouse as well as the survivor benefits so that the payment will continue if the former spouse passes away. QDROs are very important as a part of of the divorce process because without them the pension payments may conclude. If you need assistance with a retirement and pension division or acquiring a QDRO, contact a skilled San Fernando divorce attorney at the firm today!