Thomson v. Thomson
Alaska Supreme Court
394 P.3d 604 (2017)
David Thomson (plaintiff) and Marjorie Thomson (defendant) married in 1982 and began divorce proceedings in December 2004. During mediation, David and Marjorie developed a property settlement agreement, which was later incorporated into their divorce decree. The agreement divided the couple’s Alaska Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS) retirement accounts. At the time of the agreement, David was working for the state, and the couple agreed on a value for David’s PERS account based on the value in March 2006. The agreement provided that Marjorie would receive 46.96 percent of the marital portion of David’s PERS account distributed by a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The court signed the divorce decree, settlement agreement, and QDRO in August 2006. In 2014, David obtained an updated projection of his PERS benefits, which was projected at about 80 percent more than the 2006 projection. David then moved to amend the QDRO to have Marjorie’s portion calculated using the 2006 numbers, arguing this would effectuate the agreed distribution of the settlement agreement. Marjorie objected to the proposed amendment, arguing that absent language to the contrary, the court should base the division of retirement benefits based on the employee spouse’s salary at the time of retirement. The trial court denied the motion to amend, and David appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Carney, J.)
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