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Family — property division — pension benefits

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//September 5, 2012//

Family — property division — pension benefits

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//September 5, 2012//

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Wisconsin Court of Appeals


Family — property division — pension benefits

Where a marital settlement agreement provided for the wife to receive a portion of the husband’s pension at a set age, but the husband won a lawsuit entitling him to lifetime disability benefits instead of a pension, the wife is entitled to a portion of the disability benefits.

“The similarities between Topolski and this case are striking. Here, as in Topolski, the parties intended a specific retirement age. Here, as in Topolski, an unexpected event at the time of divorce changed the choices available to the husband. In Topolski, the husband became disabled; here, Glen involved himself in litigation which made lifetime disability benefits available to him at age fifty-seven. In Topolski, the husband got exactly the same benefits on disability that he would have received in retirement; here, the benefits Glen now receives are significantly more valuable than the retirement payments he expected. Here, as in Topolski, the disability benefit payments are in fact and in law a substitute for age-related retirement benefits to which the employee had earlier been entitled. As such, an award to Georgianne of 40% of the payments Glen began receiving at age fifty-seven ‘gives both the husband and wife exactly what they bargained for in the Marital Settlement Agreement.’ See id., ¶¶72-73.”

Affirmed in part, and Reversed in part.

Recommended for publication in the official reports.

2011AP1516 Dickau v. Dickau

Dist. I, Milwaukee County, Lamelas, J., Kessler, J.

Attorneys: For Appellant: Fraker, Donald R., Mequon; For Respondent: Rose, Douglas W., Milwaukee; Chupita, Lora L., Milwaukee


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