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Ask Lawrence D. Gorin Your Own Question
Lawrence D. Gorin
Lawrence D. Gorin, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1544
Experience:  30+ years family law experience. QDROs, UIFSA, UCCJEA expertise.
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I am filling out QDRO forms to divide pensions and am stuck

Customer Question

I am filling out QDRO forms to divide pensions and am stuck on the "Benefit Payable to Alternate Payee Option". I have PSA in front of me. The pensions belongs to ex. Can you help me select correct option?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 2 years ago.
1. When you say "PSA" what is it to which you are referring?
2. Under the Benefit Payable to Alternate Payee Option, what are the options that are offered?
3. What specific retirement or pension plan is the subject of your inquiry?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
PSA = Property Settlement Agreement. Filing date was January 2014. Divorce was final 6/25/25 in NJ.Language in PSA regarding division of pensions reads:"Wife to receive 50% of husband's pension #n (language is repeated exactly for each pension), the total value of which shall be calculated from the date of the marriage through the date of the filing of the divorce complaint plus or minus any gains or losses attributable to Wife's aforesaid 50% interest."There are three defined benefit plan pension plans with same employer, two are capped traditional plans, the third is an active portable pension account. The marriage was from 1987 and he was employed by the same employer during the entire marriage. He is not yet retired or drawing benefits and there are no outstanding loans on any of the pensions.NO payment option is specified in PSA and ex-spouse is too lazy to even fill out the paperwork... told me to do it. I want to select the option most financially favorable to me without violating the PSA. He is currently 63, I am 51 and I am told by his employer that I will begin receiving begin receiving benefits with an actuarial adjustment for my sex and younger age/longer life expectancy at the time he retires as my ONLY option. He has always said he intends to retire at 70, but now claims he plans to retire at 65 (an attempt to avoid alimony and already addressed by my attorney), so I do not know when payments will commence and his employer cannot give me estimated amounts until the QDRO is complete. I have a financial plan in place to minimize taxes on any payments before my own retirement, but am left with this confusing question.Payment options offered are:1. Straight Percentage 50%
2. Marital Interest
3. Dollar AmountDollar Amount is not an option, but I believe the vague wording of the PSA leaves open either option 1 or 2. I am just not sure, especially without numbers, to determine which option would give me the larger payment.None of the plans have a COLA feature and both will have "Will be increased by a proportionate share of such early retirement subsidy" checked, though the "normal" retirement age for his employer is generally 60.There is also a 401K, but the form for that is quite clear to me, as it involves a simple gain/loss calculation and rollover into my name.I would prefer not to disclose the name of the employer publically, but it is not a government agency. It is a very well known international transportation company.
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 2 years ago.
You need direct services of an experienced QDRO specialist in your area. The circumstances you are presenting call for case-analysis and review of the specific details of the each of the pension and retirement interests that are to be divided. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to QDRO drafting and processing. Each one is difference and unique unto itself. The help you need goes far beyond what can be provided through this website. Were I to proceed further, I would not be providing you with a service. Rather, it would be a disservice. And that would not be fair to you or professional of me. So I will opt out. I wish you well.
Lastly, here are some web links that you may find informative and helpful:
Division of Retirement BenefitsThrough QDROs (from DOL)