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Ex-wife not entitled to half of pension earned after divorce

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The Indiana Court of Appeals held Tuesday that a trial court did not impermissibly modify a property settlement agreement or decree, but simply clarified that the intent of the parties was to divide the marital property acquired during the marriage and before the final date of separation.

Judith Lund Pherson sought half of the pension her ex-husband Michael Lund earned from his employer in the 18 ½ years after the two divorced. At the time of their divorce in 1991, the two agreed that Pherson would be entitled to half of Lund’s Tier II benefits from his railroad employer. When he retired after 42 years of service, Pherson began receiving half of the benefits. But Lund sought clarification from the court whether his ex-wife could claim a portion of the retirement funds he earned after their divorce.

The trial court clarified that the pension benefits earned in those 18 ½ years didn’t exist at the time of the divorce as a marital asset.  The Court of Appeals affirmed in Judith (Lund) Pherson v. Michael Lund, 52A04-1304-DR-180.

“It is true that Indiana law ‘encourages’ divorcing spouses to reach agreements and the spouses ‘have more flexibility in crafting their own property settlement agreements than do divorce courts,’” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote, citing Wilson v. Wilson, 716 N.E.2d 486, 489 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999). “Parties may agree to provisions which a trial court has no statutory authority to order. Husband and Wife in this case could have agreed to divert Husband’s after-acquired funds to Wife as alimony or maintenance.  However, the Agreement is devoid of any language suggesting this intent. We agree with the trial court that the Agreement was not intended to divide the future earnings of one spouse. Its sole objective was to divide property acquired before the date of final separation.”

 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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