Wanner-Brown v. Brown

[FAMILY LAW]

In Wanner-Brown v. Brown,[1] the supreme court held that all retirement benefits vested during the course of a marriage are considered marital property regardless of when the retirement classification status was determined.[2] Prior to his marriage, Conrad worked for the State in a position with a retirement classification of Tier 1.[3] He later left his position and cashed out his retirement benefits.[4] After his marriage to Tammy, Conrad again became employed by the State and completely re-earned his retirement benefits during the course of the marriage.[5] While new employees at this time were classified as Tier 2, Conrad was able to retain his Tier 1 classification due to this prior employment with the State.[6] The Tier 1 status allowed Conrad to receive full retirement benefits five years earlier, resulting in an almost $80,000 increase in the present value of his benefits.[7] After Conrad filed for divorce, the lower court determined that Conrad should be classified as a Tier 2 employee when determining the distribution of marital assets because his Tier 1 status was acquired before the marriage.[8] The supreme court reversed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that all benefits obtained during a marriage are marital property.[9] As Conrad re-earned all his benefits during the marriage, his benefits should have been classified as Tier 1 when determining the distribution of marital assets.[10] Reversing the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that all retirement benefits vested during the course of a marriage are considered marital property regardless of when the retirement classification status was determined.[11]

 



[1] 312 P.3d 1106 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 1111.

[3] Id. at 1107.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id. at 1111.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.

Wanner-Brown v. Brown

[FAMILY LAW]

In Wanner-Brown v. Brown,[1] the supreme court held that all retirement benefits vested during the course of a marriage are considered marital property regardless of when the retirement classification status was determined.[2] Prior to his marriage, Conrad worked for the State in a position with a retirement classification of Tier 1.[3] He later left his position and cashed out his retirement benefits.[4] After his marriage to Tammy, Conrad again became employed by the State and completely re-earned his retirement benefits during the course of the marriage.[5] While new employees at this time were classified as Tier 2, Conrad was able to retain his Tier 1 classification due to this prior employment with the State.[6] The Tier 1 status allowed Conrad to receive full retirement benefits five years earlier, resulting in an almost $80,000 increase in the present value of his benefits.[7] After Conrad filed for divorce, the lower court determined that Conrad should be classified as a Tier 2 employee when determining the distribution of marital assets because his Tier 1 status was acquired before the marriage.[8] The supreme court reversed the lower court’s decision, reasoning that all benefits obtained during a marriage are marital property.[9] As Conrad re-earned all his benefits during the marriage, his benefits should have been classified as Tier 1 when determining the distribution of marital assets.[10] Reversing the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that all retirement benefits vested during the course of a marriage are considered marital property regardless of when the retirement classification status was determined.[11]

 



[1] 312 P.3d 1106 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 1111.

[3] Id. at 1107.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id. at 1111.

[10] Id.

[11] Id.