Cohen v. Cohen, 937 S.W.second 823 (Tenn. 1996).
Cohen is broadly cited for its holding that “the worth of unvested retirement plans and elevated fairness in actual separate property accruing through the marriage represent marital property.” It reached this conclusion quite shortly by noting that marital property is outlined as “all” property acquired through the marriage. However the husband argued that because the statute particularly outlined vested advantages as marital property, the legislature should have meant to exclude unvested advantages from the definition.
The courtroom was subsequently referred to as upon to flesh out its holding. It first made clear that “[o]nly the portion of retirement advantages accrued through the marriage are marital property topic to equitable division.” Id. at 830. It additionally made clear that this was true “regardless that the non-employee partner didn’t contribute to the rise of their worth.” Id.
When providing reasoning towards the argument that unvested retirement belongings are speculative and contingent upon really being obtained by the incomes partner and thus shouldn’t be topic to division as a marital asset, the Courtroom commented: “Even ‘vested’ retirements could also be contingent upon the worker’s dwelling till the age of retirement. Contingencies needs to be thought of on the difficulty of methodology of distribution, maybe, however not on the willpower of classification.” Cohen, 937 S.W.second at 830. This implies even unvested pension advantages have to be thought of and divided as a part of the divorce.
The valuation of the advantages have to be made at a date as close to as doable to the divorce, and when making this valuation, the courtroom ought to think about complete lessons of belongings. If one asset has elevated in worth and one other decreased, the courtroom ought to think about the web enhance.
This put up is a part of a collection, Appreciation of Separate Property: The Forensic Accountant’s Full Employment Act.