A Beginner’s Guide to Federal Pensions and Benefits (FERS, CSRS, TSP) in Divorce

Do the same rules that apply to private sector employees also apply to federal employees and retirees? No. Court orders that affect private sector pensions are generally governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) or IRS regulations. The Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) are governmental plans which follow federal regulations and are exempt from ERISA.

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The Ultimate Guide to QDROs: Everything You Need to Know

What is a QDRO and how does it work? If you or your spouse have retirement accounts or pensions, you will likely need a QDRO. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the most important things you need to know about QDROs (process, cost, common mistakes, and more).

Pensions, IRAs, 401Ks and retirement plans are considered marital property in virtually all states. This means they must be divided equitably in a divorce. Depending on how a division of assets is negotiated, it may be possible to keep a larger part of a pension in exchange for giving up another asset of similar value. Often, this might be ownership rights in the family home.

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Pension Valuations in Divorce: A Helpful Guide

The first thing that must be established is whether the pension is a defined benefit or a defined contribution plan. Once this is determined, then a valuation date must be established. The value of a defined contribution plan is simply the balance of the account as of a given date. However, the characterization of the account (community vs. separate property) requires a detailed tracing of the account from marriage through separation.

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