Over 30 years of experience in divorce & family law



H. Michael Stern, Esq., a New York matrimonial and family law attorney and mediator with over 33 years of experience suggests that a distributive award may be available to compensate for the use of marital funds for the buy back of pension credits used to enhance the value of the other party’s separate property pension benefits.stacks of money

In a 2019 case determined by the Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, the Appellate Court determined that where a party, during a marriage, uses funds earned during the marriage to buy back “pension credits” to enlarge the value of that party’s separate property pension, that a distributive award (e.g. an award of money) can be made to the other party to cover all or part of the cost of those pension credits.
This is significant because a pension earned prior to the marriage is separate property which is not subject to equitable distribution by the Court in a New York divorce case. In certain cases, there may be no practical way to determine the amount of the enhanced value that the pension credits add to the separate property pension. Pension plan administrator do not have to cooperate with the inquiry. Oftentimes, the pension plan administrator is not within the State of New York, so there is no means to compel cooperation.

Moreover, if there are insufficient funds to hire an expert to do that calculation at trial, the distributive award is an inexpensive and easy way to recover all or part of the marital funds used to pay for the pension credits.

A distributive award may be granted if a party can prove that the pension credits were purchased with marital funds during the marriage and provide the Court with the cost of the pension credits.

I have been trying divorce cases since 1987. My goal first and foremost is to win at trial when a settlement cannot be reached in the case. Focusing on the needs of the client and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my Long Island practice over the past 33 years.

Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq. a Long Island divorce and family law attorney, if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747-2290.

My Nassau County office is conveniently located adjacent to the Roosevelt Field Mall ring road at 666 Old Country Road in Garden City, New York.

Written by, H. MICHAEL STERN, Divorce & Family Lawyer, Nassau County, New York.

The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.