Police Officers and Divorce
Ehrenzweig’s qualifications as a divorce attorney are clearly described in the ‘Divorce’ section of this page. When it comes to Law Enforcement or Police Officers, Ehrenzweig is uniquely qualified. We all want to keep our retirement benefits in a divorce. The division of an officer’s pension is determined by what is called the “Majauskas formula.” This is a division between the time the parties were married and the officer’s time on the job. However, different strategies which can be used to save an officer’s pension and other retirement benefits. *
In several cases Ehrenzweig has successfully achieved a major deviation in the Majauskas division of retirement benefits. In one case (E v. T) the Court specifically stated to Ehrenzweig that the court was not going to deviate from Majauskas. Yet notwithstanding the court’s statement, at the end of the case, the court did indeed deviate from Majauskas.
In another case an officer had his “service pension” modified to a 3/4 disability pension. This decision was made by the Pension Board sometime after the officer had retired. In fact the officer (a Sgt.) had to repay his Variable Supplement back to the City, as he had received same due to his pension status at the time. The Sgt’s wife would not repay the Sgt. the back money she owed him as a disability pension pays the spouse much less than the regular service pension. Ehrenzweig took the wife to Court. The Court awarded Ehrenzweig and the Sgt. Summary Judgment (ruling that if the Court presumed every fact alleged by the wife as true, Ehrenzweig would still win at trial). Thus, Ehrenzweig won, the wife had to pay the Sgt. back all the money owed. She was additionally ordered to pay to the Sgt. some of the fees paid he had paid to his attorney.
Recently, (as discussed above in E v.T), Ehrenzweig represented a woman who worked as in investigator for the Attorney General’s Office (and law enforcement) for approximately 35 years. Her husband did not work. The Court insisted that the Court had to follow the Majauskas formula. The Judge said “that is the law and I am following it”. Ehrenzweig argued intensely and submitted a “Memorandum of Law” on the subject and the Judge decided to “allow” Ehrenzweig to make his arguments. At the start of the trial the Court asked if settlement was possible, Ehrenzweig said “yes,” his opposition said: “We want it all.” Towards the end of the trial the Judge stopped and said to the husband (after Ehrenzweig cross examined him and brought witnesses), I don’t know if your memory is bad because of your age, or you are just not telling the truth, but I strongly recommend that you people try to settle this case. Although Ehrenzweig’s client did have to give her husband a small portion of her pension, it was nowhere near what the Majauskas formula demanded. Ehrenzweig changed the Judge’s mind completely from “we have to follow Majauskas no matter what” to a complete downward deviation from the formula. His client was thrilled and walking on air as they left the Courtroom.
In another case another with another Sgt., here again after his divorce, the Court again ordered his wife to pay him funds to cover his attorney fees.
All cops have heard the horror stories of losing half their pensions in a divorce. This happens, but there are exceptions, and there are legal strategies which can be implemented to protect your pension. If you are working in Law Enforcement and are getting divorced, please review the “Divorce” drop down section on this page, and considering giving Hugh Ehrenzweig a call.