Money, property, and retirement plans acquired or earned during a marriage are considered marital assets. These marital assets may be subject to equitable distribution in the event the spouses decide to divorce. The concept behind this is that, since the assets belonged to both spouses during the marriage, both spouses should both be able to benefit from them after divorce.

Pension Plans as Marital Assets

Pension plans are generally viewed as a type of savings account to assist both spouses in their marriage and in their future. In New York, any pension benefits earned by the participant-spouse during the marriage are considered marital assets and are subject to equitable distribution in divorce. As a result, the ex-spouse may be entitled to recoup a portion of the participant-spouse’s pension benefits.

What is the Majauskas Formula?

The Majauskas Formula is an equitable distribution formula most commonly used to determine the portion of pension benefits a spouse may be entitled to in divorce. It was derived from Majauskas v. Majauskas, which confirmed that (1) vested, unmatured pension benefits were marital property to the extent that they were earned during the marriage, and that (2) the proper formula to determine the benefits to be awarded to the non-participant spouse should be based on the benefits accrued when the participant-spouse retires, and not as of the date of the divorce. Essentially, this formula can provide a former spouse with one-half of the participant-spouse’s pension earned during the course of their marriage.

Equitable distribution in divorce can become quite contentious. If you need assistance with your divorce, you should consult with a divorce and/or family law attorney. An experienced attorney can help advise you of your rights, assess the facts of your matter, and help guide you through the divorce process.

If you require experienced legal representation for any of your divorce and family law matters, contact the Law Offices of Mark S. Paige, P.C. today to schedule a consultation.