Some types of benefits are particularly difficult to divide as part of a divorce. While it might seem surprising, teacher retirement benefits are one of the most challenging types of benefits to divide as part of a divorce. It is critical for teachers and their spouses to understand how to divide these benefits. In many situations, it is also a wise idea to quickly obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable divorce lawyer if you are navigating a divorce.
Challenges Posed by Dividing These Benefits
In many situations, teacher retirement benefits are not capable of being divided by the law but are divided during divorce or separation. The state of Georgia, however, will not become involved in this division process. Because dividing these benefits is often a complicated process, significant caution is needed to divide the assets. As a result, many people who want to divide teacher retirement benefits as part of a divorce or separation find it particularly helpful to obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable divorce attorney.
Options for Dividing Teacher Retirement Benefits
Fortunately, there are a few options available for teachers to divide teacher retirement benefits as part of a divorce or separation, which include the following:
- Mediation and other processes that involve negotiations can be used to divide assets. These processes help former couples avoid the traditional court process and decide on an adequate way to divide assets.
- Many former couples decide to divide teacher retirement benefit assets by using other assets of similar value to offset the benefits and reach a mutually acceptable asset division plan. This plan often results in a teacher keeping their retirement benefits and the other spouse receiving assets of equal value.
- If the couple does not have any assets of similar value, couples sometimes create an agreement to divide payments from the benefits. As a result, each time the teacher receives compensation from benefits, part of this amount is given to the former spouse.
There is not a one-size-fits-all solution in dividing teacher retirement benefits. Instead, a knowledgeable family law attorney can assess your situation, weigh the various factors, and help you and your former spouse decide on the best approach.
What if You Die Before Retirement
One of the related questions that teachers often ask about retirement benefits is what happens if a teacher dies before retiring. In these cases, it depends on whether a teacher dies before retirement with less than or more than 10 years of service. If someone dies before retirement with less than 10 years of service, a lump-sum refund of your contributions as well as any gained interest will be paid to your primary beneficiary. If you die with 10 or more years of service, your beneficiary will receive either a monthly benefit for life or a lump-sum refund of your contributions and interest.
Contact a Seasoned Divorce Lawyer
The experienced lawyers at Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. are waiting to answer any questions that you might have about the division of teacher retirement benefits or other areas of family law. Contact our law office today to schedule an initial free consultation during which time we will outline your various available options.