Trial court fairly treated pension plans by comparing monthly benefits of husband’s plan and wife’s plan, rather than finding present value of each plan.
When court uses QDRO to divide a pension, present value of the parties’ interests is irrelevant to the property division.
Where there was affirmative, uncontradicted, expert testimony of tax rate on retirement plans, trial court must either accept it or explain why it found the testimony improbable or the witness discredited.
No value for pension where odds of ever collecting it were speculative and improbable.
Pension should not be valued on basis of continued employment to age 65 because that is based on assumption husband would keep working and credit the wife with his post-divorce employment.
Trial court has discretion to determine appropriate discount rate in order to value a pension.
Current value of pension plan must be reduced for future taxes.
Trial court should be alert to advantages of dividing retirement at the time of divorce rather than postponing the actual division until employee-spouse retires. Where there are sufficient assets to divide the present value without causing an undue hardship, this method is preferred.
Valuation of pension based on price of a private annuity was improper. Pension should be handled by one of the three methods described in Bloomer.
Methods for valuing and distributing retirement plans.
In valuing a defined benefit plan, court should assume that the employee spouse retired on the date of separation.
Courts need not use the earliest retirement date when calculating present value – permissible for a judge to use a retirement age that is the “norm” for the spouse’s type of work.