– from Andrew E. in Kewaskum, WI

Question Details:

I have just recently started a new job and I'm also just beginning a divorce. I don't have much as far as personal property and we do not have much in terms of  joint property, either. Upon beginning my new job, I started a retirement pension. I have not invested a dime into it yet, so the company has nothing to match. My wife has informed me that she will be entering a request to receive half of my future pension, whatever amount it may be. Can my wife receive a percentage of my future retirement fund?

Family Law Attorney Response:

Every property division case is considered individually, based on independent factors specific to that case. The courts do have broad discretion when dividing any and all assets. Without more information, I can only guess at what the court's final decision would be.

However, they may find that since the retirement fund has not been invested in, it holds no value. In the case of Peterson v. Peterson 126 Wis. 2d 264, 376 N.W.2d 88 (Ct. App. 1985), there was an individual with a similar situation. The courts assigned no value to the retirement plan. The wife appealed, but the court of appeals affirmed. Because it was not invested in, it carried no value, therefore, was not considered divisible.

My advice would be to contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss the details of your case, and to find the best course of action for proceeding.

Trisha Festerling, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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