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Divorce and retirement plan division in New York

While any divorce holds the potential to become protracted and messy, the greater the assets held within the marriage that is being dissolved, the greater the potential for complication. Couples who have a retirement plan must reach a fair agreement for how to divide this complex asset, along with the rest of their property.

According to New York state law, all retirement plans must be divided equitably between partners who are divorcing, including benefits which were accrued while the partners were married and before the beginning date of the divorce action. Defining what is “equitable” need not be a point of great contention, however. Courts in New York employ what is called the Majauskas formula to determine how to split various assets within a retirement plan

The Majauskas formula takes the actual value of benefits accrued throughout the duration of the marriage and multiplies that value by a fraction. The number of months of the duration of the marriage is used as the numerator of the fraction, while the denominator of the fraction is the number of months a spouse was employed with pension credit upon retirement. After performing this multiplication, the result is then multiplied by a percentage to be directed to the other party. Typically, this is 50 percent. This type of retirement plan division is almost always accompanied by a special order known as a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order” to enforce the compensation.

Divorce is rarely simple, but it does not have to be devastating for either party, either personally or financially. Experienced legal counsel can help guide you through this difficult time and help you move on to a better season of life.

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