Retirement assets may be the most valuable assets in a marital estate, yet few attorneys pay them more than passing attention. Competent representation requires that the attorney understand the various types of retirement plans, as well as their limitations.
This course, presented by attorney Elizabeth McMahon, a preeminent attorney specializing in the field of drafting QDROs for more than twenty years, will discuss what information must be addressed in a separation agreement or memorandum of decision to effectively divide retirement assets. The discussion will highlight the differences between 1) a defined benefit (traditional pension and cash balance pension plans) and defined contribution plans (savings plans); 2) a shared interest and a separate interest; and 3) the private employer and state or government plan.
Specifically, in regard to defined contribution plans, she will discuss the Connecticut Appellate Court’s decision in Kremenitzer v. Kremenitzer and the manner in which it pertains to adjustments for gains and losses on a savings plan division. In regard to traditional defined benefit plans, she will cover the need to secure survivor benefits on non-qualified pension plans such as the Federal Employees Retirement System, State (of Connecticut) Employee Retirement System, Connecticut Teachers’ Retirement Board, Railroad Tier II, and the MTA. The course will examine the benefits and pitfalls of aggregating and offsetting different plans, and will cover certain IRAs that should be left alone whenever possible.
Elizabeth L. McMahon (Betsy) earned both her law and undergraduate degrees from Georgetown University. Before studying law, she was a liaison officer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Immediately after graduating, she moved to Germany and then to Iceland while her husband served in the U.S. diplomatic corps. They left the Foreign Service to make their home in Connecticut with their four children. For the past twenty years, her practice has been focused almost exclusively on QDROs.
The Connecticut Bar Association Honorable Anthony V. DeMayo Pro Bono Award 2015
The CBA Pro Bono Award 2008
1993-2000 – Branford Soccer Club – coach
2002 – Present: Catholic Family Services foster parent for newborns awaiting adoption
2014 – Present: President, Hotchkiss Grove Association
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