Retirement benefits may be the largest asset in the marital estate, and may even surpass the marital residence in value and importance to your client.  

The issue of dividing retirement assets in divorce is complex and confusing. The pension landscape is a constantly changing one, making pension issues in divorce a constantly moving target --  even for the most seasoned practitioner.

Are your clients protected?

Do you have ticking time bombs in your files? QDROs which were rejected by the Plan and never prepared, acceptable QDROs which were never filed, QDROs which were supposed to provide your client with survivorship rights, but don't, QDROs which do not reflect the intent of the parties in the separation agreement? 

Do your separation agreements clearly address all of the issues relating to the plan?   Such as survivorship, death, or disability of the Plan participant? Or do you simply state that the parties agree that the pension will be divided according to state case law
and move on to the next paragraph because your retainer agreement doesn't cover drafting the QDRO?  Recent court decisions have held that an attorney's failure to incorporate key pension terms into the separation agreement can result foregone benefits for the client and potential malpractice liability for the attorney.

Do you diligently order pension valuations and plan description booklets only to delegate the responsibility for drafting the Order to opposing counsel? Or do you outsource  QDRO preparation to companies which rely on non-attorneys and standard forms to craft cookie-cutter orders? Or do you rely on the model forms provided by the Plan -- forms which are designed for the Plan's administrative convenience, not your client's best interest? 

Do you know how to use a pension and QDRO as a strategic weapon?  Many attorneys fail to realize the power of a QDRO to obtain such benefits as child support arrearages and in some cases, attorney's fees.  Many attorneys do not understand how to use plan options as negotiating tools.

I can help remove this hassle from your practice.

I offer the following services:

  •  assistance in pension discovery
  •  review of plan descriptions and pension valuations
  •  determining whether an immediate offset is in your client's best interest
  •  preparation for litigation on pension issues
  •  incorporating key pension terms into your client's separation agreement
  •  assistance to divorce mediators
  •  providing a written interpretation of your opponent's QDRO
  •  drafting a QDRO or DRO which will be acceptable to the Plan, the court and your client
  • providing you with a written explanation of the Order to share with your client and obtain sign off for your files.
Unlike many pension consulting firms who employ non-attorneys to draft your client's Orders (and who cannot or should not be providing legal advice regarding the same), I am an attorney licensed to practice in New York State with a decade of experience in the pension arena.  As a  DRO Plan Administrator for the largest public retirement system in New York State, I reviewed thousands of incoming Orders prior to plan acceptance, established all of the procedures used by that System in reviewing and implementing DROs, conducted CLE presentations throughout the state on DRO preparation,  and provided information and assistance to countless attorneys, members and alternate payees on benefit-related issues. 

I can provide you with a thorough, time-saving and cost-effective solution to addressing all of the complex issues surrounding the division of retirement assets in divorce, relieving you from frustration and worry and saving your clients money.