Valuation of Retirement Assets
The valuation of the community and separate property components of an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or defined contribution plan such as a profit sharing plan or 401(k) plan is an essential part of our services. Such valuations are often required to bring community and separate property figures forward to a current date where an individual’s retirement account contains pre-marital and/or post separation contributions. Valuations also enable parties to explore creative solutions such as “offsetting” multiple retirement accounts thereby limiting the number of accounts from which marital property funds are transferred. In the case of defined benefit plans, we work closely with outside actuaries and pension appraisers to determine the present value of a pension which enable parties to consider multiple options in dividing their marital estate.
The QDRO process is often the first step individuals take in retirement planning—whether retirement is in the near or distant future. We are here to assist individuals reset their financial outlook following a divorce or legal separation with regard to retirement planning. This often involves assisting individuals with important decisions such as choosing a form of payment of their retirement benefits, counseling with regard to required minimum distributions, assessing the tax impact of retirement payments, collaborating with financial planners and estate/trust attorneys, and assisting with beneficiary designations.
QDRO Advocacy and Litigation
The body of QDRO law has been and will continue to be shaped by case law. QDRO related issues can be complex and often the subject of dispute and litigation. QDRO Advocacy is a necessary function of any QDRO attorney. QDRO Advocacy is always resolution based and settlement outside of court is generally best for the parties. However, when settlement is not possible, we are prepared to assist our clients by serving as an expert witness or counsel in support of their position.
High Net Worth Cases
The high net worth divorce case involves unique retirement arrangements with a wide array of issues that require advanced legal expertise. Individuals with high net worth face a variety of complex issues that we are prepared to handle and resolve. It is common that such cases involve multiple plans that are well suited for offset or equalization accounts; benefit levels that are limited by IRC Section 415, or non-qualified plans such as 409A plans and similar deferred compensation arrangements. Such cases may also involve “self-administered” plans in which one or both parties serve as “trustee” or “administrator” of the retirement plan subject to valuation and division thereby inviting concerns over the conflict between the parties’ fiduciary role as trustee/administrator and his/her role as party in the divorce proceeding. With respect to these “self-administered” plans, there may be further complications due to underfunding or overfunding in the case of defined benefit plans; or valuation concerns that require close collaboration with the plan’s third party administrator, actuary and/or investment advisor.
Drafting, Reviewing, and Processing QDROs
Our practice specializes in carefully drafting, reviewing and processing QDROs and similar orders that divide benefits in the context of marital dissolution proceedings or legal separation. In this regard, we have expertise with all types of plans, private and public, qualified and non-qualified. Not only are we familiar with the retirement plan in your case, but we have dealt with just about every issue that may impact the division of benefits such as delicate treatment of separate property, plan loans, complex offsets, ambiguous judgment provisions, spousal support, child support, disability benefits, survivor benefits, death benefits, entry of post death QDROs, QDROs for foreign divorces, and more. An asset as important and valuable as your retirement benefits deserves our high level of expertise and care.
Goodman QDRO Law Group prides itself on having served a diverse array of employees and their former spouses in all industries and professions
Executives, retail owners, teachers, police officers, firefighters, military personnel, doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, judges, actors, writers, and much more.
We are well versed with the retirement benefits of our clients in every imaginable vocation from small businesses, labor unions, Fortune 500 companies, as well as local, state and federal government, including all branches of the military.
Although we primarily assist individuals throughout California, we are routinely engaged to divide retirement benefits identified in divorce judgments that are issued in other US states and countries. Our experience with this wide and varied client base means that we have worked with clients who are similarly situated to you. That said, your experience is new to you—and we thrive on bringing our years of expertise and skill in the handling of your case.