Question Details:

I am about to begin my divorce. My husband is currently receiving civil service pension benefits. I am seeking fifty percent of the martial property, fifty percent of the pension benefits, and maintenance. My husband claims that he is not liable for all of that. I am currently seeking a good divorce attorney, but until then I am looking for some advice to get the ball rolling.

Family Law Attorney Response:

All matters of property division is at the sole discretion of the court. Also, equitable distribution does not always mean equal distribution. Your individual circumstances, as well as other factors, will come into play when a court renders its decision. With that being said, there really is no way of knowing whether a court would grant your request. I can, however, give you an example of a similar case so you can have a better understanding of the court’s decision making process. In the case of Herdt v. Herdt 152 Wis. 2d 17, 447 N.W.2d 66 (Ct. App. 1989), the wife had also requested a share of her husband’s civil service pension benefits. The court denied her a share of the benefits with current pay status, but granted her 50% of the survivor share benefits. She appealed, but the court of appeals affirmed. This was based on the court’s translation of section 767.255(8), which permits a trial court to hand down an unequal distribution of marital property in regards to an award of maintenance. My advice is to contact a family law attorney right away before moving forward.

Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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