In planning for your divorce, a look at the retirement accounts will typically show that these funds represent a good portion of a couple’s assets and savings. These can be in the form of 401K plans, IRAs, Thrift Savings Annuities and retirement pension plans. Division of these funds can be crucial to balancing a couple’s assets. Some may want to evaluate to plan a buy-out of the parties other personal and real property. For this, an actuary or pension evaluator is a key asset in determining the value of one’s pension, since it is not defined. On Long Island, your divorce mediator or divorce attorney can help in locating a pension evaluator to have the plan evaluated. At Divorce Mediation & Family Services, we work with an efficient and effective pension evaluator to assist us in this process.
If a pension, 401K, Thrift Savings Annuity and the like (not an IRA), needs to be divided in some manner, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is necessary to effectuate this. The QDRO is a document which instructs the plan administrator of the retirement plan on how to assign a portion of the funds to the spouse or “alternate payee”. The plan administrator approves the document before it is presented to the Court by your Long Island divorce attorney. With the QDRO, transfers can be made at the appropriate time without any penalties. In New York, and on Long Island especially, the Courts do not sign off on this until a divorce is being finalized. It is important that the divorce mediatior or divorce attorney is knowledgeable about the QDRO execution and procedures so that the Divorce Agreement, Separation Agreement or Stipulation is drafted properly to include how the retirement plans will be distributed in a separation or divorce scenario. Divorce Mediation & Family Services of New York on Long Island employs divorce mediators and attorneys experienced in retirement settlements and drafting the QDROs for the divorcing couple.