Divorce Considerations When Divorcing A Police Officer

When divorcing a police officer, there are a few myths. I have heard clients claim that police officers will receive special treatment by the Judges, and then other clients will state that police officers are discriminated against. The truth is neither. Although, of course, Judges appreciate what police officers do, they do not receive any special treatment, nor are they discriminated against. Each case is evaluated on its facts.

When considering child custody, some police officers work many hours, or have rotating shifts. In those situations, the custody schedule must be adjusted to account for the police officer’s hours or rotating shifts.

All police officers are entitled to a pension from their service. The pension is a defined benefit plan, which means that a specific monetary benefit is provided at retirement. Of course, each police officer’s benefit will depend on their salary and years of service.

In New York, the police pension benefits, earned during the marriage, are subject to being divided between the parties. New York State uses a formula that was established and is called the “Majauskas formula”. The Majauskas formula states that the ex-spouse is entitled to 50% of the pension benefits that were earned during the marriage.

Although, an ex-spouse is entitled to 50% of the pension benefits earned during the marriage, if the case is settled, then you can decide to trade off the value of the pension benefit for some other benefit. In order to do this, a “present value” of the pension benefit must be established.  The present value of the pension is the equivalent lump sum value, in today’s money, of the pension benefits.

So, for example, if the present value of the pension benefit is $100,000, you could trade this by receiving a lump-sum of $100,000 from the police officer and then waiving the pension benefits.

If you are married to a police officer, and considering divorcing a police officer, contact David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office, P.C.  David Badanes, Esq. has represented numerous clients where the spouse is a police officer. The Badanes Law Office’s phone number is 631-239-1702. You may also send us an email to david@dbnylaw.com. The Badanes Law Office has offices in Northport and Uniondale.

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