Monday, March 15, 2010

Writing the Property Settlement - Make Sure You Cover Everything

Ah, forgetting to ask all the questions worries me. The problem of the unasked question has a tendency of coming back to haunt - if not to bite. For those of you thinking of doing your own divorce (or legal separation) agreements, I give you this paragraph from WOLSHIRE v. WOLSHIRE, 905 NE 2d 1051 (Ind Court of Appeals 2009) and suggest that you think long on it:

We reach the same conclusion with regard to the trial court's division of Husband's future military retirement benefits. Generally, a spouse's military retirement benefits are a marital asset subject to division. See, e.g., Griffin v. Griffin, 872 N.E.2d 653 (Ind.Ct.App.2007). Here, however, the parties entered an agreement that made no mention of Husband's benefits. When asked about this omission during the final hearing, Wife stated, "It simply did not come up as we were putting together this agreement. It was an oversight." (Tr. p. 20). As noted above, a trial court reviewing a settlement agreement "should concern itself only with fraud, duress, and other imperfections of consent, or with manifest inequities, particularly those deriving from great disparities in bargaining power." Pond, 700 N.E.2d at 1136. A mere oversight does not rise to this level. We instruct the trial court, on remand, to remove the provision concerning Husband's military retirement benefits from the decree of dissolution.

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