As a divorce attorney at the Blacknall Firm, I understand that divorce can be a difficult and confusing process. It’s especially complicated when there are government benefits and retirement plans involved. If you’re a non-employee spouse going through a divorce, you may have questions about your rights to a portion of your former spouse’s federal retirement benefits. In this blog post, I will provide answers to some common questions about federal retirement plans and divorce.
What are Federal Retirement Plans?
Federal retirement plans are benefits offered to federal employees by the government. There are four main types of federal retirement plans: the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and military retirement. These plans are administered by different government agencies, but they all provide a defined benefit or defined contribution to eligible employees.
What Happens to Federal Retirement Benefits in a Divorce?
In a divorce, a non-employee spouse may be entitled to a portion of the employee spouse’s federal retirement benefits. The exact amount of benefits that the non-employee spouse is entitled to will depend on several factors, including the type of federal retirement plan, the length of the marriage, and the terms of the divorce decree.
How is the Division of Federal Retirement Benefits Determined?
The division of federal retirement benefits is determined by the divorce decree, which is a legal document that outlines the terms of the divorce. The divorce decree must specify the type of federal retirement plan that is being divided, and it must specify whether the gross, self-only, or net annuity is being divided. The divorce decree must also specify whether cost of living increases can be awarded, and it must specify whether the former spouse will receive a survivor annuity.
What is a Pro Rata Share?
A pro rata share is a term used to describe a portion of a federal retirement benefit that a non-employee spouse is entitled to receive. A pro rata share is calculated based on the number of months of federal service that the employee spouse performed during the marriage. The exact amount of a pro rata share will depend on the length of the marriage and the terms of the divorce decree.
What Happens to Federal Retirement Benefits After the Death of a Non-Employee Spouse?
If a non-employee spouse dies after receiving a portion of the employee spouse’s federal retirement benefits, the remaining portion of the benefits will typically go back to the employee spouse. However, the divorce decree may specify that the payment of the non-employee spouse’s share of the benefits should be paid to the non-employee spouse’s children, estate, or the court.
What Should I Do If I Have Questions About Federal Retirement Benefits and Divorce?
If you have questions about federal retirement benefits and divorce, it’s important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney.
In conclusion, understanding the division of federal retirement benefits in a divorce can be complex and overwhelming.
The team at the Blacknall Firm is here to help, and we look forward to assisting you with your case.