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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses Divorce, Pensions and Retirement Accounts

Written by Amar Weisman » September 20, 2013 »

Dealing with a divorce can be emotionally and mentally draining for all involved. There is so much to consider when going through a divorce, to include the division of marital assets and/or property. However, when thinking about marital property, your Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer will tell you that many individuals often forget about their spouses' pensions and other retirement accounts of which they may be entitled to receive a portion. In order to determine whether or not you are entitled to certain benefits under your soon-to-be ex-spouse's pension and/or retirement plan, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Determining Your Entitlement to Pension/Retirement Proceeds

Even with all the other issues that divorcing parties must consider, it is important for those individuals to ask themselves a few pertinent questions that might indicate a need to seek pension benefits. For instance, does the spouse have a retirement or pension plan with his or her current employer? Did the spouse have a plan with any of his or her previous employers? If an individual has worked for a federal or state government, a school system, a unionized employer and/or has been in the military, the chances of that spouse having a pension plan of some sort are very great.

If a divorcing party can answer yes to any of the above-mentioned questions, he or she should speak with an attorney right away.


There are a number of things that divorcing individuals should consider when attempting to place a value on pensions for purposes of asset division.

Early Retirement Penalties

Early retirement penalties are not typically considered on an economic basis unless the early retirement is actually going to occur. Maryland has certain rules concerning the consideration of these penalties during the divorce process. In any case, your attorney can pursue establishing the handling of such penalties before valuation procedures take place.

Contributions vs. Present Value

It is not unusual for employers, especially governmental agencies in Cockeysville, to require employees to make contributions to a pension plan as a condition of employment. Employers typically make contributions to the plan as well. These contributions accumulate, along with any earnings, in an account established for the employee. In some instances, as soon as vesting has been completed, the employee is free to withdraw the funds upon termination of employment.

However, individuals should use caution in such situations because the cash-out value of the plan might be very small in relation to the present value of the future benefits. This is especially true in the case of long-term employees. Accordingly, it would be prudent for divorcing individuals to utilize the services of a skilled divorce lawyer to ensure that a proper valuation is made.

If you have questions regarding your entitlement to your spouse's pension benefits and how those proceeds will be handled in the divorce, let a Baltimore and Towson divorce lawyer at The Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC help you with your case today.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.