PERA and Divorce:
In Colorado, some state employees receive a PERA retirement account. For example, this is a common asset for teachers and school administrators. Part of the PERA retirement is a pension that is received on a monthly basis upon retirement. This can be a very large asset in the divorce.
It is important to get the PERA valued by an expert. The face value of the asset on the statement is typically not accurate. The value is usually 2-3 more than what the statement says the value is (though this is dependent on different circumstances).
The asset can be divided in different ways. First, it can be divided by the “time/rule formula.” This is the basic formula:
Time earning the PERA account while married
_____________________________________ X 0.5 = percentage of asset to be given to spouse
Total time earning the PERA account
Oftentimes, parties will determine this percentage, and upon retirement, the spouse will receive his or her share on a monthly basis.
We can also offset the total value of the PERA asset with another asset. So if the PERA account is worth $100,000 and there is another retirement account worth $100,000, the spouse receiving PERA would keep his account and the other spouse would keep the other retirement account. (Taxes usually would need to be evaluated when determining whether the two accounts are actually equal).
PERA accounts can be complicated to value and divide in a divorce. They, however, are usually very valuable so it is important to not give up your right to this asset without proper analysis and negotiation. If you have any questions regarding your PERA account in a divorce, please call 720-773-2900 to schedule a free consultatio