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Pension & Divorce Center

"To the Penny Pension Evaluations"

The leading case that holds both vested and nonvested pension benefits are marital property is In re Marriage of Brown, 544 P.2d, 566 CA, decision by the Supreme Court of California. This landmark case overruled a decision some thirty years earlier In re Marriage of French, 544 P2.d 561 CA. The court's holding in French was that a nonvested pensions were a mere expectancy and were not, therefore, subject to division upon divorce. The husband in Brown was in a noncontributory pension plan. Under the Plan an employee who was discharged before accumulating a minimum number of "points" could forfeit his pension rights. The trial court held that the husband's nonvested rights were not divisible in divorce. The Supreme Court of California reversed this decision, observing that pension benefits were not a mere expectancy. Rather, the benefits were a form of deferred pay for the services rendered and were, therefore, distributable in divorce.

ALL PENSIONS MAY BE CONSIDERED MARITAL PROPERTY IF A QUANTIFIABLE AMOUNT IS ASCERTAINABLE IN MARITAL DISSOLUTION OR RETIREMENT

VESTING IS NOT A FACTOR IN PENSION EVALUATIONS
UNVESTED RETIREMENT BENEFITS ARE SUBJECT TO PROPERTY DIVISION

IF YOUR PENSION CONSULTANT UTILIZES A REDUCTION FOR NON-VESTING OF THE PENSION AND PRESENTS A REDUCTION IN THEIR PENSION EVALUATIONS, TECHNICAL ERROR MAY NEED TO BE EXAMINED.

Alaska: Laing v. Laing 741P.2d 649 (Alaska 1987)

Arizona: Van Loan v. Van Loan 569 P2.d 214 (Arizona 1977)

Delaware: Robert C.S. v. Barbara J.S 434 A.2d 383 (Delaware 1981)

Georgia: Courtney v. Courtney 344 S.E.2d 421 (Georgia 1986)

Indiana: Wilson v. Wilson 409 N.E.2d1169 (Indiana 1979)

Kentucky: Foster v. Foster 589 S.W.2d 223 ( Kentucky 1979)

Maine: Stotler v. Wood 687 A.2d 636 (Maine 1996)

Maryland: Deering v. Deering 437 A.2d 883 (Maryland 1981)

Michigan: Perry v. Perry 350 N.W.2d 275 (Michigan 1984)

Minnesota: Janssen v. Janssen 331 N.W.2d 752 (Minnesota 1983)

Mississippi: Tillman v. Tillman 716 So.2d 1090 (Mississippi 1998)

Mississippi: Selman v. Selman 722So.2d 547 Mississippi 1998)

Nevada: Gemma v. Gemma 778 P.2d 429 (Nevada 1989)

New Hampshire: Halliday v. Halliday 593 A.2d 233 (New Hampshire 1991)

New Jersey: Kikery v. Kikert 438 A.2d 317 (New Jersey 1981)

New Jersey: Whitfield v. Whitfield 535 A.2d 986 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1987)

New Mexico: Berry v. Meadows 713 P.2d 1017 (New Mexico 1986)

New York: Majuskas v. Majuskas 463 N.E.2d 15 (New York 1984)

New York: Damiano v. Damiano 463 N.Y.S. 2d 477 (N.Y. App. Div. 1983)

New York: Burns v. Burns 643 N.E.2d 80 (New York 1984)

Oklahoma: 657 P.2d 646 (Oklahoma 1983)

Oregon: In re Marriage of Rogers 609P.2d 877 (Oregon 1980)

Pennsylvania: Braderman v. Braderman 488 A.2d 613 (Pennsylvania 1985)

Rhode Island: 511 A.2d 961 (Rhode Island 1986)

South Carolina: Carter v. Carter 286 S.E.2d 139 South Carolina 1982)

South Carolina: Anderson v. Anderson 318 S.E.2d 566 (South Carolina 1984)

South Dakota: Hansen v. Hansen273 N.W.2d 749 (South Dakota 1979)

Tennessee: Cohen v. Cohen 937 S.W.2d 823(Tennessee 1996)

Texas: Cearley v. Cearley 544 S.W..2d (Texas 1976)

Vermont: Victor v. Victor 453 A.2d1115 (Vermont 1982)

Vermont: Milligan v. Milligan 613 A.2d 1281 (Vermont 1992)

Washington: Wilder v. Wilder 534 P.2d 1355 (Washington 1975)

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