Divorce Representation for Government and Federal Employees: Dividing assets remains a complicated prospect among divorcing government and federal employees in Washington DC. The matter gets further complicated when you take into account the different federal benefits systems. These systems include the FERS (Federal Employee Retirement System) and the CSRS (Civil Service Retirement System).
As a federal employee or a spouse to a federal employee, understanding the rules revolving around the aforementioned systems and how they influence your divorce outcome is undoubtedly challenging. It, therefore, makes sense to consult a skilled and experienced lawyer for a divorce.
The Barkat Law Firm has years of experience in top-rated divorce representation for government and federal employees. He boasts an in-depth understanding of the rules regulating civil-service benefit systems and property division, making him indispensable for a fair division of benefits during a divorce involving federal employees and retirees.
Each federal employee divorce case is different. But with years of experience, Sheraz is sure to offer you trusted guidance when taking on the difficult decisions unique to your situation.
Divorce and Federal Retirement Benefits
Typically, a federal employee has two defined retirement assets: their federal employee pension and their Thrift Savings Plan.
When it comes to federal pensions, employees who started service with the federal government before 1987 participate in the CSRS. Following the establishment of FERS in 1987, CSRS is no longer an option for federal employees. New employees now participate in the FERS.
Under either system, an employee is eligible for monthly payments following retirement. The payments can be wholly or partly marital (and hence subject to division in divorce).
A specific fraction determines the marital share of pension during the divorce. The fraction involves the total years of service, and the time during those years that the person was married. The amount of the marital share of the pension ultimately awarded to the spouse will depend on how the rest of the property is divided, but in many cases, the spouse of the federal employee may end up with 50% of the marital share of the pension.
It’s imperative to involve a family lawyer when sharing the pension during a divorce to ensure fairness and the protection of your rights, whether you are the federal employee or the spouse.
Divorce and Thrift Saving Plan
Federal and government employees in Washington DC can participate in the Thrift Savings Plan(TSP), a federal version of the private sector’s 401k plan.
The amount you contribute to TSP during the marriage (time between the wedding and divorce dates) is subject to division via court order. Your spouse can receive his or her share of your TSP through direct transfer to a different retirement account, a distribution (taxable), or both.
The transfer typically occurs upon the finalization of divorce proceedings. Additionally, the spouse does not have to wait for the employee to retire to receive their share of TSP. Contact the Barkat Law Firm to determine the options available for you when dividing a TSP is a factor in your divorce.
What if You Divorce Before Retirement?
When a federal employee is still in service during the time of divorce, the spouse’s share of pension remains unknown.
In this case, it typically takes a trial or settlement agreement to allocate a spouse’s share of the employee’s pension. Consequently, a COAP (Court Order Acceptable for Processing) applies to the divorce case.
The COAP stored in a file in the Office of Personnel Management until the employee retires, after which the marital share is calculated as set forth in the COAP. Payments to both parties should commence at the same time.
At Barkat Law Firm, we don’t just address FERS, CSRS, and TSP matters. We have a long history of tackling other complex issues pertaining to federal employee divorces. They include:
- Custody arrangements including for State Department employees where relocation may be a factor
- Government healthcare coverage and insurance
- Federal life insurance and survivor benefits plans
Need Help with Federal Benefits being divided in a Divorce in Washington DC?
Sharing federal government retirement assets can be one of the most tedious and disputable parts of a divorce. With the above information being just a snippet of what to expect during federal divorce, consider consulting the Barkat Law Firm for competent representation that gets you the appropriate share of a federal retirement package.
Having negotiated and litigated numerous federal employee divorces in Washington DC, the Barkat Law Firm approaches each case uniquely and with appropriate knowledge to achieve fair distribution. Call our office in Washington DC at 202-276-1167 or fill the online form to schedule an appointment or know more about their services.