Heidi E. Opinsky

The Law Offices of Heidi E. Opinsky, LLC

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Dividing Retirement Benefits

Division Of Retirement Benefits And Plans In Fairfield County

When a couple who has been married for many years decides to dissolve the marriage, there are many different decisions that have to be made, whether by agreement or through the court. One of the points of contention for many high net worth earners is their retirement accounts are considered marital property and are subject to equitable distribution. The valuation of these assets may be very complicated based on differing rates of maturity, and payments deferred to the future may cause these assets to increase dramatically or vest after the divorce is final. Specifically, it may be many years before the benefits are realized, and these long-term payouts and uncertain valuation needs must be calculated in conjunction with the distribution of property, as they are valuable components to any settlement. These assets also require complex tax analysis to minimize, shield or allocate tax payments between the parties.

Heidi E. Opinsky and her team of colleagues at her Fairfield County divorce firm, are dedicated to providing superior service to all of our clients, exceeding their high expectations.
Heidi E. Opinsky and her team of sophisticated legal professionals focus on representing individuals with personalized attention and zealous advocacy. Retirement benefits and plans might include:

  • Pension plans
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
  • Stock ownership plans (ESOPs) — similar to a defined contribution plan with stock contributions
  • Profit-sharing plans
  • Deferred compensation and retirement plans
  • Defined benefit and defined contribution plans
  • 401(k) plans
  • 401(b) plans
  • Qualified plans — requiring Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
  • Social Security Benefits

The different plans may be based on spousal contributions, stock allocations or pensions whose interests may be vested or unvested at the time of the divorce. One of the crucial aspects of the divorce process is to understand the different ways in which these accounts vest and pay out. Vested contribution plans are easy to value based upon the account balance, while other plans that provide income upon retirement pose complex review for an equitable distribution between the parties.

In determining how retirement benefits will be allocated, the court will look at many different factors relating to fairness, including:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s income
  • The age and future earning capacity of each spouse
  • The various retirement accounts and benefits of each spouse
  • Premarital, coverture and separate acquisition aspects to the benefit plans
  • Qualified Joint and Survivor Right Annuities and Spousal Consents to relinquish benefits
  • The reason for the dissolution of the marriage
  • The other assets and property subject to distribution
  • The ability of each person to acquire additional assets in the future

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) may be required to equitably divide and to roll-over a spouses’ interest in a qualified plan without incurring tax consequences and penalties until a date in the future. A skilled divorce attorney understands how to traverse the complex maze of a high-asset divorce and works with financial professionals in order to ensure the client gets the best possible outcome with the least impact of any negative financial consequences to either party.

Heidi E. Opinsky Represents Individuals In High-Asset Divorces

A high-asset divorce involves the division of many different types of property, including retirement accounts and benefits. These assets require careful analysis in order to ensure a maximization of benefits over the long-term payout and duration of these resources. Heidi E. Opinsky represents moderate to high net worth individuals in divorce actions, to achieve the best possible results and outcomes for her clients.

Experienced Divorce And Family Law Attorney Serving Fairfield County And New York

When a high net worth couple is getting a divorce, there will be numerous assets that need to be divided, but one of the more complex aspects of the division often surrounds retirement benefits and plans. A qualified and financially savvy divorce attorney is necessary to get a fair allocation of these plans between the parties, as these assets are a significant aspect of the financial settlement or divorce judgment. Contact Heidi E. Opinsky today to schedule a confidential consultation. You can
reach her online or call her at 203-653-3542.