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Minnesota Court Case Puts Divorcees on Notice

One of the most important issues in a divorce is a couple's pension rights. While the issue is not as crucial for divorces involving younger couples, baby boomers nearing retirement know how significant this money is for retirement. Now, a new Minnesota Supreme Court opinion is reminding divorcees just how important and technical these procedures can be.

The court decision essentially stripped an ex-wife of her pension benefits because she failed to file a court order in time. The couple involved in the case divorced all the way back in 1993. At that time, the woman received a half-interest in any future pension benefits. In order to enforce this claim, however, the ex-wife was required to serve the order on the pension payor.

She served the order in 2005 but, at that time, her former husband's new wife was named as the secondary beneficiary. The Court ultimately ruled that this was untimely and denied her the benefit of the half-interest in the pension.

This harsh result has put many divorcees on notice. When a couple splits, there are often substantial assets in retirement accounts and pension entitlements. Dividing these deferred benefits can be tricky. No matter how difficult it might be, though, it is a vital issue for divorcees, especially those closer to retirement.

Local St. Paul attorneys are well aware of the importance of retirement assets in a divorce. Without them, a divorcee's future can be put in jeopardy. These professionals know the formalities in securing these benefits and can help their clients ensure that nothing is lost in translation and during the legal process.

When dealing with a divorce and property settlement, there are simply too many things that can go wrong. Divorcees must not take these things for granted and are urged to retain the appropriate expertise to avoid the harsh results.

Source: On Wall Street, "Protecting Clients' Pension Rights After a Divorce," Donald Jay Korn, April 5, 2013

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