Dividing Retirement Benefits upon Divorce: Alleviating the Anxiety (Online Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Price: $135 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 8/31/2018


A pre-recorded streaming VIDEO replay of the September 2015 webcast, Dividing Retirement Benefits upon Divorce: Alleviating the Anxiety.

Topics covered include:

  • Federal Government Pensions (CSRS and FERS)
  • Thrift Savings Plans (Uniformed Services and Civilian Plans)
  • Private Defined Benefit (Pension) Plans
  • Private Defined Contribution Plans
  • Military Retired Pay (including Reservist Pensions)
  • The Virginia Retirement System (VRS)
  • Foreign Service Retirement and Disability System (FSRDS)
  • Foreign Service Pension Service (FSPS)
  • Qualified Pre-retirement Survivor Annuities (QPSA) and Former Spouse Survivor Annuities

Many attorneys find themselves pushing the files involving division of retirement benefits to the far corner of their desk. The requirements of each plan can be confusing and downright scary for even the seasoned lawyer.

This CLE will help practitioners bring a sense of confidence to this area of their domestic relations practice. They will feel more comfortable tackling these issues in a timely and productive manner, and more at ease discussing issues related to retirement benefits with clients, opposing counsel, plan administrators, and judges.


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Heather A. Cooper, Cooper Ginsberg Gray / Fairfax
Heather A. Cooper has lived in Fairfax County since 1985. She attended George Mason University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in 1990, and her Juris Doctor degree in 1994. Ms. Cooper has practiced family law exclusively since 1995, enjoys an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been designated among the area's "Top Divorce Lawyers" by Washingtonian magazineand Northern Virginia magazine. She was also included in the 2012 and 2013 editions of The Best Lawyers in America.
Although Ms. Cooper's main goal is assisting her clients in reaching a negotiated settlement of all issues, her trial experience enables her to effectively present any issue to a court for determination. She has litigated issues ranging from equitable distribution of property (including division of pension benefits, stock options, and real estate) to issues pertaining to alimony, child support, and child custody. She has a particular interest in custody relocation cases, having represented parties on both sides of this difficult issue at various times in her career.
In addition, Ms. Cooper has written briefs and presented oral arguments in Virginia's appellate court system in such areas as validity of prenuptial agreements, spousal support modification, equitable distribution, and the effect of Social Security Disability payments on child support obligations.
Ms. Cooper is a member of the Fairfax Bar Association, and a former Vice Chair of the Bar's Law Related Education Committee. She served on the 5th District Committee (Section II) of the Virginia State Bar from 2004 to 2010, serving as Vice Chair from 2007 to 2008, and Chair from 2008 to 2009. In 2011, she was appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell to serve on the Secretary of Health and Human Resources Child Support Guidelines Review Panel.
Ms. Cooper has conducted Continuing Legal Education seminars for other attorneys and paralegals on topics including basic divorce law for paralegals, premarital agreements, division of military retirement benefits upon divorce, litigation of custody issues, custody evaluations, and enforcement of marital agreements. She has also participated in a variety of activities through Fairfax County Public Schools designed to teach children about the law.

Sean P. Kelly, Kelly Barnes & Danker / Fairfax
Sean P. Kelly has practiced exclusively in the area of family law and divorce during his entire career as a lawyer, which began in 1994.  Having "grown up" in the field, he has extensive litigation experience and a significant knowledge and understanding of the law.  His substantial trial experience, coupled with his opponents' awareness of his willingness to take cases to trial, opens the door to the world of productive settlement discussions.  His style of practice, integrity, and demeanor have earned him the respect of his colleagues, adversaries, and the judges before whom he appears, and in February 2009, Washingtonian magazine first recognized him as one of the D.C. area's best divorce lawyers.  Washingtonian magazine also named Mr. Kelly to its Top Lawyers list in 2011-12 and 2013-14.  He was also included in The Best Lawyers in America beginning in 2011 and has been selected for inclusion each year since.  He has been named to Super Lawyers in Virginia and/or Washington, D.C. every year since 2007. 

During his 20-plus years in practice, Mr. Kelly has litigated and/or settled all types of family law cases, including custody and visitation, equitable distribution of assets, and spousal and child support matters.  He has been involved in complex business valuation cases and the tracing of assets, often working closely with experts in forensic accounting.

Mr. Kelly was selected to and served on the Virginia State Bar Council from 2002-08 and was re-elected to Bar Council again in 2010 and 2013, where he is presently serving his second consecutive three-year term.   Previously he served as a member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Committee for the 5th District from 2000-06, twice serving as Secretary, and was also elected to serve as the Chair of the Virginia State Bar's Judicial Candidate Evaluation Committee in 2008 and 2009, a committee to which he was initially selected as a member in 2007.

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