Division of Property and Assets – Division of Pensions in a Florida Divorce

A division of property and assets case involving a husband’s pension was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal. In this case, the husband and wife were married for thirteen years. When the divorce was filed, the husband had been working for the City of Delray Beach as a firefighter for 16 years. The Husband’s pension accrued at a rate of 2.5% per year. Once the husband had served for 25 years, his retirement benefits increased to 3% per year. When the divorce was filed, the husband was eligible for the 2.5% multiplier. The Florida Court of Appeal pointed out that there are two methods to distribute pensions. The first method is the immediate offset method. Under this method, spouses receive the present value of their interest in the other spouse’s pension either in cash or as a share of marital distribution. The second method is the deferred distribution method. Under this method, the judge determines the amount of the employee’s benefit as of the date of the final hearing (without any early retirement penalty).

In the division of property and assets case,the court then multiplies this amount by the percentage that the spouse is entitled to receive. The recipient spouse then receives this amount from each of the spouse’s retirement payments. The benefits are not to include the value of services performed after the date of the final judgment of dissolution. These methods of distribution enables both parties to share in the benefits accrued during the course of the marriage. In this case the Florida Court of Appeal found that the 2.5% multiplier was the most appropriate multiplier because the 3% multiplier was a bonus for the additional work that the husband must perform after the date of the final judgment in order to qualify for the larger retirement multiplier.

To speak with a division of property and assets attorney in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, about the division of your pension in a divorce case, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.