A wife will get around $116,000 more in a divorce settlement after the Indiana Court of Appeals found the trial court erred in applying the coverture fraction formula to the husband’s retirement accounts.
Beth and Carleton E. Ahls were married in 1993 and in 2013, Beth Ahls filed for marital dissolution. The marital assets included three retirement accounts, a Thrift Savings Plan, a civil service pension and a military pension. She got 15.5 percent of the Thrift account and civil service pension and 9 percent of the military pension. Beth appealed, saying the court’s calculations of her share of the retirement accounts were wrong, and that she should have received survivor benefits and attorney fees.
The COA said the trial court incorrectly applied the coverture fraction formula when dividing Carleton Ahls’ retirement accounts. The wife was entitled to 31 percent of the civil service and thrift pensions, and not 15.5, as the trial court said. It incorrectly divided the 31 percent in half again. The same thing happened in the military retirement benefit account as well, meaning she should have been awarded 18 percent of the account and not 9 percent. Beth Ahls should have been awarded about $116,000 more than she was.
She also challenged the trial court’s refusal to award her survivor benefits in regard to the retirement accounts, but she did not include any citation to relevant authority for these claims, and therefore waived review of the issue.
The COA also said the trial court was correct in refusing to order husband to pay a portion of the wife’s attorney fees. Beth Ahls did not prove the court abused its discretion in that regard.
The case is Beth A. Ahls v. Carleton E. Ahls, 34A02-1509-DR-1416.