The law in New York requires that people who are married divide any pensions that were earned during the marriage. This can be a complex undertaking because of the nature of these assets. It is important to remember that just like other assets, the division of pensions here is done based on what is equitable, not what is equal.
There are several manners in which a pension can be divided. If you and your ex are able to work together to come up with the terms of the split, you might find that you are able to secure a nice settlement.
One of the most common formulas of division in this state is the Majauskas formula, which was set by the State Court of Appeals in response to a case. It takes the total number of pension-earning years and the number of overlapping married years into account to determine what percentage of the pension belongs to each spouse.
Using this formula, if a couple was married 10 years and the pension earner has been earning the pension for 20 years, the nonearner's share at the time of divorce would be 25 percent of the total pension. This is because only half of the pension earning years occurred during the marriage. And, the person is entitled to half of that half.
Some divorces use a modified version of that formula. Others use a flat dollar amount or even a certain portion of the pension based on the balance on a specific date. Because of the possibilities, it is imperative that anyone who needs to divide a pension has legal representation that is very familiar with the various division methods.