A wife brought a case in Rockland County Supreme Court before Justice Robert Berliner. In this case the parties had been divorced by a judgment dividing the marital portion of each of the parties’ pension and retirement benefits. Thereafter the wife submitted a Domestic Relations Order concerning the husband’s New York City Fire Department (hereinafter referred to as ‘FDNY”) pension. In November 2015 the wife received her first payment of the husband’s pension. The monthly payment she received was for $1,762.88.
Husband’s Pension in Pay Status
The husband’s FDNY pension however was in pay status going back to May 2014. The wife’s application sought $31,731.84 which represented her 50% interest related to her marital portion of husband’s pension from May 2014 through October 2015. The wife’s attorneys presented an argument that her financial interest in husband’s pension vested when the parties entered into a Stipulation of Settlement regarding their divorce on April 22, 2014. There was a delay with regard to submitting the Domestic Relations Order. However, the delay in submitting the Domestic Relations Order the wife claimed should not impact on her receiving the retroactive portion of her husband’s pension. The husband’s attorneys argued the wife’s application was not in conformity with the Stipulation of Settlement the parties entered into. He also argued the Domestic Relations Order submitted by wife sought to modify the Stipulation of Settlement in the divorce which had been resolved 2 years prior.
Wife’s Interest in Husband’s Pension Vested
Upon Execution of the Stipulation of Settlement
Justice Robert Berliner agreed with the wife’s position. He held the wife’s interest in her husband’s pension vested when the Stipulation of Settlement was executed. He further held the delay in submitting a Domestic Relations Order did not impact on her rights to half of her husband’s pension. The judge found the wife was entitled to $31,731.84 in back payments. This constituted her 50% share of her marital interest portion of husband’s pension. The husband had to pay her back this money because these funds were paid out prior to the court entering the Domestic Relations Order causing the New York City Fire Department to pay the wife $1,752.88 per month.