The Brown Rule in Dividing Retirement Benefits in California Divorce Cases

Orange County divorce lawyer; The Maggio Law FirmThe Brown rule refers to the 1976 case of Marriage of Brown. This rule is also known in the legal community as the “Time Rule.” The prevalent perception regarding this case is that it established a rule regarding the division of community property. The rule was basically about the issue that community property such as retirement benefits, etc. can be apportioned depending on the time it was earned in cases of marriage vs. pre-marriage and separation.

Application of the Brown Formula in Orange County divorce

Under the description of the Brown formula/time rule, the portion of the community property is regarded as ratio of the defined plan. This ratio is simply the time worked from the date of separation of the spouses to the time they were married. It is important to note that the plan holder needs to be employed for this rule to apply.

An example will help illustrate the fact. For example, a husband’s retirement benefits are a result of 10 years of his job. Also assume that the marriage took place 2.5 years after the husband started to work and ended 2.5 years before he retired. This means that the total of premarital and post separation time is 5 years and the time of employment in the time of marriage is also five years.

If the above case is considered in detail and the Brown rule is applied to the prevalent situation accurately to the t. 50% of the benefits are going to be classified by the courts as community property while the rest of the 50% will be regarded as separate property.   Once this is done, then the community properties amount whatever is calculated is halved and the resulting amount is what the spouse that is not working is going to be entitled to deserve.

divorce_attorneyGerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law attorney and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.