Boulds v. NielsenAnnotate this Case
Raymond Boulds and Elena Nielsen were unmarried cohabitants for 16 years and raised children together. When their relationship ended, they litigated child custody and property ownership. The court determined that the insurance death benefit and the 401(k) retirement account were not domestic partnership assets and belonged to Boulds alone. But the court determined that the union pension was a domestic partnership asset and was subject to division. Because Boulds appealed to the Supreme court, the superior court had not yet issued an order dividing the union pension. Boulds argued that federal law prohibited dividing his union pension with a non-spouse, and that the superior court misapplied Alaska law by examining only Boulds’s own initial intent to share the union pension with Nielsen for the benefit of their children. The Supreme Court concluded that federal law did not bar Nielsen from receiving a share of the union pension and that the superior court did not err in determining Nielsen was entitled to half of the union pension under Alaska law.