Legal Question in Family Law in Florida

Pension plan benefits in a divorce

As a vested former employee I am entitled to early retirement pension benefits after age 55. I am getting ready to file for a divorce. I have not yet asked for the pension benefits. The plan states that if you are married, your spouse must provide consent if you do not wish to choose a joint & survivor option of payment. If I do not apply to receive my pension until after the divorce, do I still have to ask him for his consent for me to receive a ''single life form of payment'' I don't know if it matters which state you are in, but I live in Florida.

Asked on 2/14/08, 9:07 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

James Hart The Hart Law Firm, P.A.
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Re: Pension plan benefits in a divorce

Depending on how long you were married, your spouse may be entitled to a portion of your pension benefits. These forms of payments are treated as marital assets and are subject to equitable distribution, just like an IRA or a piece of real estate.

Depending on how much money is involved, it may be worth your money to speak with an attorney about how this pension should be handled.

At the very least, the pension benefits could be considered income to you for purposes of calculating alimony.

There are lots of issues here - be careful.

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2/14/08, 10:19 am
Robert Roemer Robert Brian Roemer LLC
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Re: Pension plan benefits in a divorce

This is a complex question, depending on the type of retirement plan you have, years of marriage, whether your husband has a retirement plan, etc.

I would suggest you speak with an attorney. If you want, please e-mail your telephone number and we can schedule a telephonic conference.

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2/14/08, 2:14 pm
Darren Edwards Darren K. Edwards P.A.
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Re: Pension plan benefits in a divorce

If these benefits were accumulated during your marriage, your wife will have a claim to some of the pension value. This would be distributed in the divorce as part of equitable distribution. She would need to prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, but she could receive her share when you receive your lump sum payment.

The timing of when you receives these monies is not likely to be a significant factor.

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2/14/08, 9:24 am

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