|So, just check the box?|
By Elizabeth Kruska
Life is pretty grand when people agree. That’s partly why this particular case got reversed.
Sandra Penland and John Warren were previously married and got divorced. As part of their divorce, the agreement was that they would each get 50% of Mr. Warren’s pension that he got from working as a teacher. The parties took the appropriate steps to divide the pension, the divorce was final, and they moved on.
Some years later, Mr. Warren discovered he had a health issue that may jeopardize the pension. If I read this correctly, if he dies, the pension payouts would end. That would mean Ms. Penland’s portion of the pension payouts would also end—and likely much sooner than both parties anticipated—which isn’t what either of them wanted. So, he and Ms. Penland discussed the matter and agreed they would change the divorce order so that he would keep the pension, making it only pay out to him during the rest of his lifetime, and he would give Ms. Penland a cash payment in the sum that would have been half the value of the pension. They both agreed this was a win-win situation; Ms. Penland would be made whole with the amount of money she believed she’d get, and Mr. Warren would be able to maintain the pension during his life.