Today the Indiana Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Carr v. Carr. The Carr case represents (in my humble opinion) a case of first impression in Indiana. The Court of Appeals for the first time has unequivocally ruled that Survivor Benefits, as part of a Pension, are assets to be divided in a dissolution of marriage. The decision of the Indiana Court of Appeals can be found here:
In this case Mr. Carr elected survivor benefits as part of two pensions he was a participant of. Survivor benefits are pension payments that would go to another party if the participant pre-deceases them. Many practitioners have long argued those benefits have a value, and should be considered an asset when dividing property. The trial court in this case determined the survivor benefits were too speculative to be determined property- thereby awarding them to Ms. Carr without giving them any value.
Jonathan R. Deenik had the pleasure of representing Mr. Carr in this appeal. Mr. Carr argued that the trial court erred in determining the survivor benefits had no value, which, in reality, granted Wife a windfall and a share of the marital estate in excess of 65%. The Court of Appeals agreed. The case was remanded to the trial court.