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Maryland Asset Division and Retirement Interests

Top Baltimore County Divorce Lawyer Helping Clients Protect Retirement Assets 

Amar S. Weisman has practiced family law for more than 17 years, including more than 1,750 Divorce, Child Custody, and Child Support cases in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County and surrounding jurisdictions, resulting in the following recognitions: 

Maryland Asset Division and Reitirement Assets

Retirement assets accrued during the course of the marriage are subject to equitable distribution pursuant to the Marital Property Act upon the dissolution of the marriage. As a Towson divorce lawyer, Amar S. Weisman understands that if you acquired retirement assets both before and after marriage, the Court may use the Bangs Formula to divide them proportionally. The Bangs Formula comes from the 1984 case Bangs v. Bangs. Specific regulations may also be applicable to military retirement assets and deferred compensation plans.

Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) 

During contested divorce proceedings, specific retirement assets are subject to division via a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). To ensure the accurate distribution of funds in accordance with family law practice and the final divorce judgment and Marital Settlement Agreement, these orders must be meticulously drafted through a professional obtained with the help of your divorce lawyer. When the QDRO is complete, the separate components of the retirement account become the separate property of each spouse.

Types of Retirement Assets Divisible In Divorce 

Before filing for divorce, it is important to understand that marital property requiring asset protection includes all property acquired during the marriage; however, titled meaning. Unless there is a prenuptial agreement, all retirement earned by either party during the marriage is marital property subject to equitable distribution. As a Maryland Divorce Lawyer, Amar S. Weisman works with clients as a family lawyer to identify all marital assets including:

  • Traditional pensions, often maintained by municipalities, like Baltimore City's Board of Fire & Police Employees Retirement System
  • Military Retirement/Blended Retirement System 
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Roth IRA accounts, each with their own tax implications
  • Federal Thrift Savings Plans, commonly held by federal employees
  • DFAS Army Retirement plans, governed by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service
  • Federal Employee’s Retirement System (FERS) benefits
  • Restricted Stock Options which may require a forensic evaluation. 
  • 401(k) plans managed by financial institutions
  • 503(b) retirement plans, usually offered by public education organizations and non-profits
  • Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP)
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs
  • Profit-sharing Plans
  • Annuities, often purchased as part of a retirement package and subject to specific distribution rules
  • Defined Benefit Plans, typically promising a specified monthly benefit at retirement
  • Deferred Compensation Plans, such as 457 plans, common among state and local government and certain non-profit employees
  • Cash Balance Plans, a type of pension plan that functions similarly to a defined contribution plan
  • SEP-IRA, Simplified Employee Pension Individual Retirement Arrangements, usually established by business owners
  • Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans, not held to ERISA guidelines, typically reserved for executive-level positions and subject to sophisticated forensic evaluation. 
  • Railroad Retirement benefits, which are a whole different story. 
  • State and Local Government Pensions, for teachers and employees of local community colleges. 
  • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans, often set up by self-employed individuals or small business owners

Early Retirement Penalties

Early retirement penalties resulting from Divorce in Maryland can be a legal issue amongst individuals and the businesses unless the parties agree otherwise. People do not typically consider them on an economic basis unless early retirement is imminent. However, Maryland has specific rules concerning considering these penalties during a divorce. In any case, your attorney can provide legal advice and pursue establishing the handling of such corrections before valuation procedures take place at the earliest possible stage of the divorce process.

Math, Computation & Valuation Under Maryland Family Law

It is common for employers, including government agencies, to mandate employee contributions to a pension plan as a term of employment. Employers generally match these contributions to varying degrees. The accumulated contributions and earnings are held in an account designated for the employee.

Once vesting requirements are met, employees may have the option to withdraw these funds upon leaving their job. However, exercising this option should be approached with caution. The immediate cash-out value of the plan may be substantially less than the present value of the future benefits, particularly for long-term employees.

Given these complexities, individuals going through a divorce should consult a knowledgeable divorce attorney to ensure an accurate valuation and equitable distribution of these retirement assets.Call (410) 321-4994 For Consultation with a family lawyer with 17 years of experience, Amar S. Weisman.

Schedule a Consultation with Top Maryland Family Lawyer

Please Call (410) 321-4994 during business hours to schedule a free consultation to decide whether you want to retain Amar S. Weisman. The firm does not accept pro bono clients at this time. To have legal services and advice, you must pay a retainer, See Policy on Fees/Costs. The law firm is located in the heart of Towson near The Circuit Court For Baltimore County, Towson Town Center, Goucher College, and Towson University, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road (MD-146), Second Floor Towson, MD 21204. We represent clients throughout the Baltimore area, including Aberdeen, Abingdon, Baldwin, Bel Air, Bowleys Quarters, Brooklandville, Carney, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Edgewood, Essex, Garrison, Glen Arm, Greenspring Valley, Homeland, Hunt Valley, Hydes, the Joppa Road Corridor, Kingsville, Long Green, Lutherville, Middle River, Nottingham, Owings Mills, Parkville, Pikesville, Perry Hall, Reisterstown, Riderwood, Rodgers Forge, Rosedale, Ruxton, Sparks, Sparrows Point, Stoneleigh, Timonium, Towson, West Towson,  White Hall,  White Marsh, and the York Road corridor. We have also represented several out-of-state clients. The law firm does not guarantee the results in any matter.