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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 112650
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I obtained a PFA on my wife (whom I married in 1980) in

Customer Question

I obtained a PFA on my wife (whom I married in 1980) in December 2013. She filed for divorce on Jan 10, 2014. On August 27th, 2015 a half day hearing was begun (only half of which was completed following my wife's testimony and that of my court appointed financial guardian a CPA). They are counting the value of my PA State Employee Retirement of about 1.2 million dollars in the "property" to be divided up bringing the total to about $1.8 million dollars. Although the SERS determines the "present" value upon retirement based on your and employer contributions, it is only used by most (and me) to determine your monthly pension (and in my case 50% to my wife upon my death). It really has "no present value". If we both die tonight, the SERS keeps all the contributions. The SERS, like life insurance companies, use actuarial analysis to determine monthly pension values. I have already shelled out over $11,000 on divorce attorneys What on earth can be done at this point?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm waiting
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is a waste of my time unless somebody answers the question!!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Please understand the experts on this site are independent users and not employees of the site. As such there may be few of us available or we may be tied up helping other customers and they all deserve the same time as you deserve. Thank you for your understanding.

The PA code 23 Pa.C.S. § 3501, holds that the pension will be valued at time of divorce, excluding any of your post separation contributions to divide the pension benefits to the non SERS member spouse. Pursuant to the Court decisions in Berrington, 598 A.2d 31 (Pa. Super. 1991), 633 A.2d 589 (Pa. 1993) and Katzenberger, 633 A.2d 602 (Pa. 1993), the court is to use the benefit accrued at the date of marital separation. The courts do this by using the retirement benefit, without salary increase, multiplied by the retirement date coverture fraction. The Supreme Court states that applying this methodology to a benefit that increases linearly with salary and service, such as PSERS and SERS, will result in the separation date marital benefit.

So, they are not incorrect in dividing up your pension entitlement and they are right to determine the present value of the account if you were to retire today according to the way the PA Supreme Court has deemed the analysis should be conducted.