Division of Retirement Assets Fairfax
In Virginia, the portion of an individual's retirement benefits that is earned during the marriage is considered marital property. There are two main categories of retirement benefits, namely defined benefit accounts, or pension plans, and defined contribution accounts such as IRA’s and 401(k) plans.
Pension plans can either be analyzed by an actuary to determine the present value to be taken into consideration along with the division of the remaining assets, or a spouse can receive his or her share at the time of retirement which is accomplished by way of a court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or "QDRO".
Defined contribution accounts can be divided in many ways. If both spouses have such accounts, one way would be to equalize the value through a transfer of funds between the accounts using a QDRO to avoid any tax penalties. Another way to handle division of such accounts is through a set-off against the spouse’s interest other assets such as real estate or bank accounts.
Our attorneys are experienced in handling the distribution of Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) benefits, Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) benefits, military or foreign service retirement benefits, Thrift Savings Plans (TSPs), and county government employee retirement benefits.
The division of retirement benefits requires detailed analysis, has potential tax ramifications, and necessitates specialized treatment in divorce decrees. In any divorce that involves retirement assets and benefits, regardless of whether you negotiate a resolution by agreement or need to litigate the issue in court, it is necessary to seek the advice of an attorney who is well versed in this area of the law.