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Pension And Retirement Benefits

In a divorce, the court has the authority to order payment of a percentage of the marital share of pension and retirement benefits after consideration of various factors in the Code of Virginia. The “marital share” is the portion of the retirement plan earned during the marriage and before the last separation of the parties. The payment may not exceed 50 percent of the marital share. To effectuate the payment to the nonparticipant spouse, a special order called a “qualifying court order” must be prepared and signed by a judge. This allows the plan administrator of the retirement to distribute the funds to the nonparticipant spouse, in accordance with the court order. Without a qualifying court order, funds transferred or removed from a retirement may be taxed in a manner not contemplated by the parties.

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