Sharon McAuliffe is a member of the firm and serves as Chair of the Employee Benefits/ERISA Practice Group. Her practice areas include employee benefits, trusts and estates and the separation of retirement assets via court orders, often qualified domestic relations orders. Additionally, Sharon often advises on merger and acquisition matters.
For over 30 years, Sharon has focused her career on employee benefits and ERISA law. Due to her vast knowledge in this area, Sharon periodically lectures at local bar associations and law schools and is an adjunct professor at Syracuse University College of Law, teaching a course on employee benefits. In addition, Sharon is highly regarded for her skills preparing qualified domestic relations orders and has experience testifying as an expert in court on these matters.
Sharon’s experience includes advising clients with regard to the establishment, administration, and termination of qualified retirement plans, cafeteria plans, and other fringe benefit plans, and representing clients in connection with audits and correction programs of the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, and Pension Benefit and Guaranty Corporation matters. She has also acted as co-counsel on ERISA litigation matters.
The fair division of retirement assets is one of the most important matters to tackle when separating from a spouse. Sharon’s extensive knowledge and experience with the different types of pension and benefit plans allows her to seamlessly advise clients throughout the entire process.
In addition to drafting, editing, and preparing a QDRO, Sharon has assisted clients with:
- Assisting divorce attorneys with the preparation of separation agreement language and negotiations regarding benefits
- Obtaining back payments from the retiree
- Advising on the tax benefits of distribution
Sharon frequently advises other legal and financial experts on how to prepare domestic relations orders, as a poorly drafted QDRO can nullify or reduce benefits.
Sharon assists clients in all aspects of the estate planning process. She has extensive experience in the planning and preparation of wills and trusts. In addition, she assists clients in property transfers, changes in beneficiary designations, and estate administration.
Prior to obtaining her law degree, Sharon was the Director of Employee Benefits for Green & Seifter, Certified Public Accountants, PLLC, where she supervised all aspects of plan compliance and annual administration for over 250 employee benefit plans, including cafeteria plans, defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, 401(k) plans and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).
- New York State Bar Association
- Onondaga County Bar Association
- Central New York Women’s Bar Association
- Loretto Management Corporation – Past Member of Board of Directors
- Loretto Independent Living Services, Inc (PACE CNY) – Past Member of Board of Directors
- St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center – Past Member Board of Trustees
Presentations And Seminars
- March 2023
What’s New and Different Regarding Division of Retirement Benefits 2.0 – CNY Collaborative Law Professionals
- October 2021
What’s New and Different Regarding Division of Retirement Benefits – CNY Collaborative Law Professionals
- April 2018
Retirement Plan Basics and Matrimonial Matters – New York State Bar Association
- October 2015
Advanced Topics Involving Retirement Accounts, QDROs, Federal Statutes, and Employee Plans – American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers New York Chapter
- June 2015
Retirement, Annuity & Life Insurance Benefit Planning – New York State Bar Association
- March 2015
Negotiating and Preparation of QDROs/DROs CLE – Oneida County Bar Association
- March 2013
Dividing Retirement Benefits in a Matrimonial Action – Oneida County Bar Association
J.D., Syracuse University College of Law, 1992
M.P.A. Maxwell School of Syracuse University, 1979
B.A., University of Notre Dame, 1974