Koelsch v. Koelsch
Arizona Supreme Court
713 P.2d 1234 (1986)
In two separate divorce cases, the husbands were employees who earned retirement benefits from a state pension plan. The husbands and their wives decided to obtain divorces at times when the retirement plans were matured and payable or nearly matured. If the husbands retired, the wives would be entitled to receive pension payments immediately or almost immediately. The husbands decided not to retire and instead to continue working. In one case (Koelsch), the trial court ruled that the wife would receive payments of plan benefits only when the husband retired and began receiving his benefits. In the other case (Haynes), the trial court ordered the retirement-fund operator to pay the wife’s interest to her directly as soon as benefits were payable under the plan even if the husband was not yet receiving any payments. Appeals were filed, and the Arizona Supreme Court granted reviews to consider the appropriate approach concerning pension payments if a divorcing spouse decided not to retire despite the maturity of his or her retirement plan.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Holohan, C.J.)
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