In July 2001, the United States Department of State began to implement a new law regarding passport application procedures. Under the Two-Parent Consent Law, both parents are required to execute the passport application for a minor U.S. citizen under the age of 14. By putting this new law into practice, the Department of State seeks to decrease the likelihood that a U.S. passport will be used to facilitate an international parental child abduction.
An increasingly large portion of the assets of married couples consist of rights to payments and stock from pension plans. In many states such assets are subject to division during a divorce. Divorce and division of property are generally controlled by state law, but pension plans are controlled by federal law in many respects.
Pension Plans and ERISA
A major advantage of saving for retirement through a pension plan is that contributions from employees and employers for plans such as a 401(k) plan are not taxed as income until distributed by the plan, usually after retirement, at lower tax rates. However, under provisions of the Federal Internal Revenue Code, the assignment of pension benefits, including transfers to a spouse during divorce, may result in the loss of such tax benefits.