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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
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My husband and I have been married for 27 years in Nevada.

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My husband and I have been married for 27 years in Nevada. Our kids are grown. He wants the divorce and is not wanting to use a mediator, which I have said is not an option. Do you know of any good mediators? I also have been working fulltime for just the last 2 years. He is saying he will fight me if I want half of his retirement (22 years of police service). I make double his income and that is his argument. He says I'll make it up faster than him. However, my job is not as stable. We also have to short sell the house. Any thoughts on what I should do here? Thank you.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.

With regard to the income disparity, pension issue, it really depends on what your respective earnings are. How much do you each earn?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
His earnings are approx. 75-80k/year. My base is $160k.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.
Last questions (probably): old are you each, and when do you anticipate that each of you will retire?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Good question. He is 43 and can retire from the County in 3 years, but is now saying that it will be 10. I'm 42 and anticipate 15-20 years. Here's more info that may help. We have quite a bit of debt from student loans, credit cards, vehicles. Approx. 40k. Our son is at WestPoint so his college is covered. Our daughter just graduated from high school and does not have college scholarships. She took this semester off and is dealing with the divorce. I want to make sure she has support for school. He has agreed. I told him I wanted 30% of his retirement, but I don't know if this is the right thing to do. He's fighting me, but wants to get the divorce done quickly and doesnt' want it to drag out. I don't either. Thanks.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.
So you have been married since ages 15 and 16? I know that I said the last question was probably the last, but this would just be so unusual, I have to verify before I can responsibly answer the question. Thanks.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
That is funny! We have been married since we were 19. We've been together for 27 years. High school sweethearts. Sorry about that.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.
The math still doesn't work! I am not trying to be problematic, but a decade can make a difference.

You were married since 19, and you have been together for 27 years, But you also said that you are 42 years old--if you were married since 19, that would make you married for 23 years, not 27.

Maybe the best way to ask this is as follows (and this will be the last questions):

1. In what year did you marry?
2. How old are you now?

Sorry for the confusion! This is the one disadvantage of this format.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I agree it would be so much easier to talk on the phone!


8/8/87 - We were 19 - married for 23 years.

I'm to be getting divorced at this age!



Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.
sorry for the delay; you can expect a final answer in approximately 30 minutes.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No worries. One thing I forgot to tell you is that he has a deferred comp with a value of approximately $56k. He offered to give it to me so I don't go after his retirement.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.
You had really asked two questions: (1) a recommendation for mediators, and (2) the impact of pension v. income.

With regard to finding a mediator, you have to keep in mind that a "good" mediator for one person is not necessarily a good mediator for someone else. The mediator's function is to facilitate agreement between the parties, but their ability to do that depends in part on the mediator's compatibility with the parties. Someone could be very skilled at mediation, but completely conflict with you and they would therefore not be a "good" mediator for your situation! Likewise, if the mediator was great for you but not for your husband, they would not be right for the situation. There is no way to know unless you interview a few and pick the one that is right for your situation--asking questions like their philosophy for resolution, what they do when one they perceive one party as being unreasonable or stubborn, etc. It is entirely relative, and there is no way to sugar coat that.

Alimony and pensions are a bit tricker. There is an excellent chance that you would be on the hook for some sort of alimony payment, especially in the short run. Alimony is awarded so that, to the extent possible, each party may continue to enjoy the standard of living enjoyed during the course of the marriage. In reality, it is almost never possible to have that same standard of living, but where one spouse earned $160K/yr. during the marriage and the other earned $80K/yr., it would not be unrealistic for the advantaged spouse to pay $2,000/mo. in alimony for as long as the disparity remained at that level.

There is no rule that says alimony must be set at the time of divorce and that it can never change; contrarily, unless agreed otherwise, alimony may be modified upon a showing of a material change in circumstances.

You can expect to get a huge chunk of his pension. Furthermore, you need to keep in mind that your piece of his pension is actually likely to be much greater than 50% of its present value; I can go into it if you wish, but the short of it is that your portion of his pension will increase over time due to the fact that each piece of the pension increases in relative value as years of service are added--for purposes of property division, the employee's estimated potential years of service are considered for calculating an individual portion. In short, a 50% stake in the first 22 years of a police pension is huge--it is easily worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in a divorce payout.

There is no way to calculate for certain if his forfeit of alimony would make up for your forfeit of the right to his pension unless and until that pension calculation is made (this will have to be done by a professional with access to the necessary documentation), but the odds are pretty good that you would ultimately lose out in that trade. The question was what you need to do in this situation: the answer is that you need to hire a forensic accountant to compute the value of your interest in his pension; then you will have a clear answer.
Brandon M. and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you. You definitely provided clarity that I needed. Have a good day.

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