Two decisions last week highlighted the need for precision and the anticipation of issues when using the term “pension” in divorce settlement agreements.
In Gluck v. Gluck, the Appellate Division, Second Department, affirmed an order of Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Cheryl A. Joseph that vacated a QDRO that was deemed to divide both the service and disability portions of the husband’s pension and replaced it with a QDRO dividing only the service portion.
The parties’ divorce stipulation of settlement provided that the wife was to receive 50% of the “marital portion” of the husband’s New York City Police Department pension. The husband’s entire career as a Police Officer occurred during the marriage. The husband’s pension payments included a portion for service and a portion for accident disability. The stipulation of settlement did not differentiate between those portions but did state that the wife would receive an “estimated amount” of $1,100 per month.
In August 2018, the lower court signed a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”). After it was served, the Police Pension Fund informed the husband that it would begin paying the wife $3,139.70 per month, representing 50% of the husband’s total pension.
The husband moved to vacate the QDRO and for the issuance a new QDRO clarifying that the wife was to receive 50% of only his service pension, not of his entire pension. Justice Joseph granted the husband’s motion.