Government Pensions and Divorces in Louisianaby Harold E. Weiser III, Esq. (Weiser Law Firm)
Before 1978 pensions were generally secure by legislation. However, in that year the La. Supreme Ct.(in a 2-1 decision) changed the law. Heretofore, pensions were divided
between ex-spouses according to half the amount contributed by the employee during the years of employment, each getting an equal share. However, after this ruling pensions can be extended for a lifetime on a timely schedule until the death of the spouse.
Nevertheless, the money paid can still be divided for one lump sum if both parties agree to it that way. Accepting pension on a timely basis can really add up over the course of a lifetime.
If Mr. Jones worked for 30 years and was married the whole time, then Mrs. Jones. Ex-Wife of Mr. Jones can receive half of his pension. It can be computed as 30 years is 100 % and
there are two of them; so, each one gets 50% of the monthly checks sent for the pension.
If they were married for 15 years of the 30 year pension, then she would get 25%. This amount depends on the fraction of the time married as compared to the length of service and value of the
pension. For example, if the wage-earner retired with a $60,000 and married, his pension and the wife’s share would be exactly $30,000 which is the full amount possible with this income.
The La. Supreme Court changes do not apply to marriages terminated before l978. When individuals were married after the ruling in 1978 and divorced or married before the ruling but divorced after the ruling, their case would fall within the guidelines of l978.
Interestingly, the ruling works for either spouse, depending upon whose pension applies.Furthermore, a spouse could conceivably collect from two or more spouses’ pensions in his/her-lifetime. Take the case that a Mrs. Stevens marries and divorces Mr. Stevens after 10 years of marriage and collects her portion of his pension. Next, she marries Mr. Clark for 11 years, then divorces him and collects her portion of his pension when he retires. Finally, she marries and divorces Mr. Johnson after years. She is now entitled to his pension when and retires, and so forth. It has become evident that marriage with a pension in mind can be a risky gamble in the state of La. So, beware of the consequences of the 1978. There might be a better ending if one kept on working and never retired. It is best to check with your family attorney, first, before seeking those wedding bells. Or perhaps a prenuptial agreement might be the way to go.