Are pensions a divisible asset in Wisconsin divorce cases? | Sterling Law Offices, S.C. global $post;
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– from Evelyn F. in Oak Creek, WI

Question Details:

I am currently seeking a divorce from my husband of eight years. We have a daughter, four years old. We agree that I will receive custody, but we are in disagreement on many issues. One of those issues is a matter of his pension fund. I feel that I am entitled to half of it considering that I was not able to work for many years because he wanted me to be a homemaker. I missed out on many opportunities to gain experience in the work field. Is my husbands pension considered divisible?

Family Law Attorney Response:

This question may be somewhat difficult to answer based on the information you have provided. There are many things a court will consider when it comes to pensions. My advice is to speak to an experienced family law attorney, and provide them with all the details. They will be able to give you a clear picture on the probable outcomes based on the details of your specific situation. To try to elaborate a little, there are different types of pensions.

Vested and non vested are terms you will hear. In the case of Heatwole v. Heatwole, 103 Wis. 2d 613, 309 N.W.2d 380 (Ct. App. 1981), the husband’s pension was half vested and half non-vested. His personal contribution of $11,000 was considered vested, and his employers contribution of $11,000 was non-vested. The employers contribution was contingent upon several factors, and therefore, were not guaranteed. The trial court considered the full amount of $22,000 as divisible erroneously, and the decision was eventually overturned. The court of appeals reasoned that only $11,000 was to be considered as divisible, and that an individual who has worked toward a pension also has a right to enjoy it. This is one possible scenario, however. A family law attorney will be able to help you obtain a fair, and just settlement.


Dan Exner, J.D.

Family Law Attorney

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