10 Years Means 10 Years

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals has reversed a trial court’s award of a portion of the husband’s retirement plan to the wife in a divorce, because the couple had been married less than five years when the complaint was filed. Ruling in the case of Dempsey v. Dempsey, Case No. 2040068 (Ala. Civ. App. June 3, 2005), the court remanded the case and instructed the trial court “to reconsider the division of the marital assets and to enter a judgment consistent with this opinion.” Although the Court of Appeals didn’t say so expressly, it may have been opening for the door with this language for the trial court to realign the other aspects of the property division to compensate for the husband’s keeping his retirement plan.

4 comments

  1. Marie says:

    The date the complaint was filed determines the 10 years of marriage?
    So, the husband can file the divorce to stop the wife from getting retirement benefits due to a 9 year and 7 month marriage?
    Does the court look at this and compensate? When the wife does not have a retirement of her own?

  2. Lee Borden says:

    In answer to your question, yes, it happens often. And yes, in answer to your next question, the court does have the power to compensate for the apparent inequity.

  3. Marie says:

    If you do not go to court because it is simple enough to mediate, can you compensate? How would you cover the retirement issue – what would you ask for?

  4. Lee Borden says:

    You would ask for a disproportionately high percentage of other assets or a disproportionately low percentage of debts; or you would ask for the other party to pay you more support than usual or that you pay less support than usual.

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