Is a pension for work before a marriage divisible in Wisconsin? global $post;
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– from Jose G. in Hales Corners, WI

Question Details:

I have been married for nearly a decade.  I’ve been employed by the same company for nearly 20 years. I work in the packaging industry. I had 10 years toward my pension before I was married. My wife and I are now beginning our divorce, but we cannot seem to agree on a lot of things. One of them is my pension. She believes she is entitled to half of the pension. I believe she is only entitled to half of the accumulated amount during our marriage. Is my pension attributed to work before my marriage divisible?

Family Law Attorney Response:

In all honesty, it will really depend on how the court interprets the law. The court does have discretion over these matters, as long as their decision is based on a reasonable view of the law. A court’s discretion can only be deemed an abuse of discretion if they view the law in error.

This is demonstrated in the case of Olson v. Olson 148 Wis. 2d 219, 435 N.W.2d 266 (Ct. App. 1988). In this instance, only 76% of the husband’s pension was attributable to work during the marriage. The court included the entire pension in the property division. The husband appealed and the court of appeals reversed.

I advise you to seek legal representation before moving forward with your divorce.

Lawyer Jeff Hughes from Sterling Law Offices, S.C.
Jeff Hughes, J.D.

Managing Partner

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