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Baltimore County & Towson Divorce Lawyer | Marital Property | Marital Property | Retirement Benefits.

Divorce and the Division of Pension, Retirement and Investment Assets in Baltimore County. 

Retirement accounts and investments get injected into the divorce process because it is usually the largest or second-largest marital asset subject to equitable dissolution in absolute divorce proceedings. There is an endless stream of different kinds of retirement accounts including plans subsidized by the government and private employers, including: 

  • Civil service pensions like those administered for Baltimore City and Baltimore County police officers and fire fighters.
  • Privately administered pensions like those maintained for military contractors and large corporations. 
  • Investment Retirement Accounts ("IRA") including SEP IRA andd Roth IRA elective benefits.
  • Thrift Savings Plans which may accrue for federal employees.  
  • Deferred compensation including accrued leave, sick pay, severance pay, and earned vacation. 
  • Restricted Stock Options with purchase agreements executed during the marriage; may be vested or un-vested; must determine if the stock option is exercisable. 
  • Disability payments are included in all orders and agreements dividing retirement benefits unless they are expressly excluded. 

Determining Your Entitlement to Pension/Retirement Proceeds Under Maryland Law 

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.

Baltimore County Valuations

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, 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 Consultation With Towson Divorce & Child Custody Family Lawyer Amar S. Weisman.

Please Call (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free Consultation. The purpose of the consultation is to decide whether you want to hire Amar S. Weisman. To obtain legal services, you must pay a retainer, see Policy on Fees/Costs. The law firm is next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204. We represent clients throughout the Baltimore area including Aberdeen. Abingdon, Bel Air, Bowleys Quarters, Catonsville, Cockeysville, Edgewood, Essex, Lutherville, Owings Mills, Parkville, Perry Hall, Rosedale, Sparrows Point, Timonium, Towson, Westminster and White Marsh.