Pensions, Divorce and the Civil Service Retirement System

Government employees are members of either the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employee's Retirement System (FERS):

Examples: employees of the Postal Service, Federal Aviation Dept., civilian employees on military bases.

When a Court Order Acceptable for Processing is drafted, monthly benefits will commence to the Alternate Payee when the Participant retires, and will continue being paid for the lifetime of the Participant. If the Alternate Payee is entitled to a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity, such monthly annuity shall commence upon the Participant's death, and continue for the life of the Alternate Payee.

Some Key Facts to Remember:

An Alternate Payee can either be awarded a share of the Net Benefit (amount of the annuity after health insurance premiums, medicare premiums, etc. have been deducted from the gross benefit) or the Gross Benefit.

There are a number of different Former Spouse Survivor Annuities available to a Former Spouse under these plans. However, the cost of such annuity must be deducted from either the Employee's annuity or the Former Spouse's share of the Employee's annuity or both annuities equally.

If the Alternate Payee remarries prior to reaching age 55, he/she will not be entitled to a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity under the guidelines of the Plans.



Suggested Reading
Pension Issues in Divorce Pension Issues in Divorce
When couples get divorced they must decide how to divide their property. Retirement benefits (pensions) often form a substantial part of the parties' total marital estate and many times are the largest single marital asset afforded the couple. Similar to other assets, pensions are typically divisible in cases of divorce to the extent that they are acquired during the period of marriage.

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HUSBAND’S ADVANTAGE – Pensions earned during a marriage are marital property and subject to division and distribution, but spouses, even professional couples, tend to defer to the husband's career because men still earn more than women.

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