There are many different types of pensions, all of which may be subject to division in a Georgia divorce, provided that all or part of the pension is marital property. This typically means that the pension accrued at least some value during the parties’ marriage. A pension whose value was earned or accrued prior to a marriage is likely to remain the separate property of the spouse who owns it, unless the parties agree otherwise.
A spouse can earn the right to pension benefits through a private employer, local or state government, the military, the railroad industry, and/or the federal government. Depending on the type of pension involved, there are different rules and regulations that apply to the division of these pensions. For instance, most private company pensions are subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and require that the court issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) in order to legally and effectively divide the value of a pension between spouses.
Furthermore, pension benefits may be unvested, partially vested, or completely vested at the time of the parties’ separation. Vesting refers to the ability of the spouse who owns the pension to draw benefits from or transfer the benefits to another person, including his or her spouse. Typically, the vesting of a pension depends on the employee’s years of service with the employer. However, even unvested pension benefits may be subject to division as marital property in a Georgia divorce proceeding.
A Georgia family law attorney can make all the difference in giving you the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about the division of pensions as marital property in your divorce. In this situation, an experienced divorce attorney who knows the ins and outs of complex divorce law and property division is best.
Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.