Pensions are often one of the assets up for division in a divorce. The marital portion of a pension plan may be divided amongst the parties. The marital portion of a plan would be the portion that accrued from the date of marriage through the date of separation. In some cases, the entire pension will be marital depending on the timing of the marriage alongside the start date of the pension plan. The marital portion will also include investment experience on the marital portion that accrues post-separation. It will not include contributions by the employee made post-separation. Parties can divide the marital portion of the plan by way of percentage or fixed dollar amount.
It is useful to get a pension valuation completed to identify the lump sum marital value of a pension. This can be particularly useful if the intent of the parties is to offset the value of the pension with other assets. For example, if Husband has a pension worth $200,000 and Wife wants to keep the house with equity of $200,000, the parties may agree Husband keeps the entire pension and Wife keeps the house as an equitable distribution. To arrive at the lump sum value of the marital portion of a pension, a coverture fraction calculation needs to be completed to account for the total years of marriage in the context of the total years of contribution to the plan applied to the total benefit available. The valuation also accounts for interest and mortality factors to arrive at the present value. An expert can be retained to complete this valuation.