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Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the official publication of the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Pensions & Divorce

Having trouble getting the opposing party in a divorce to either provide accurate pension information or sign an authorization releasing her pension information to you?  No problem.  You don’t actually need her cooperation.  All you need to do is read and follow Minn. Stat. §356.49.  Section 356.49 requires public and private pension plan administrators to release private or confidential retirement plan data to the court, either party, their attorneys, and an actuary if you send the administrator a copy of the petition and a copy of the affidavit of service showing the divorce has been started and the petition served on the other party.  You must cite the statute in your requesting letter.  The plan administrator must provide you with information necessary to calculate the present value of the participant’s benefits or rights.  The statute covers retirement plans in which the participant is currently and formerly enrolled.  This statute is especially helpful in divorces where retirement benefits are the major or only asset.

Jennifer L.J. Gilk

Estebo, Schnobrich, Frank & Gilk, Ltd., Redwood Falls

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