How Does Divorce Affect Retirement Accounts for Federal Government Employees?
If your spouse is a federal government employee, you may be entitled to division of the marital portion of your spouse’s retirement benefits. Generally, federal government employees have both a Thrift Savings Plan and Federal Employee Retirement System Pension (FERS).
The Thrift Savings Plan is a defined contribution retirement plan, much like a 401(k) or IRA. If you provide for division of retirement assets in your Marital Settlement Agreement or if your case proceeds to trial and the Judge orders a division of retirement assets, the court will order you to submit a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) in order for the Federal Government to distribute your share of your spouse’s retirement assets.
If you are receiving a portion of your spouse’s Thrift Savings Plan, your funds will be generally distributed upon entry of the QDRO and submission to Plan administrator. If you are awarded a portion of your spouse’s FERS pension, you will still need to submit the appropriate QDRO to the Court and to the Plan administrator; however you will generally only receive your share of the FERS pension if, as, and you’re your spouse retires and begins collecting his or her pension, unless the court rules otherwise.
If you are going through a divorce in Maryland or Washington, D.C. and your spouse has retirement benefits with the federal government, or if you need to protect your own retirement benefits, please contact my office for a free initial consultation.
Call 240.395.1418 today and we’ll begin discussing the best way to proceed, while helping you understand all aspects of federal government employee retirement assets and benefits during divorce.