Gordon v. GordonAnnotate this Case
Gregory and Patricia Gordon were divorced by decree; the decree divided the marital estate. One of the largest components of the marital estate was a retirement medical benefit earned by Patricia during the marriage through her employment with the State of Alaska. The superior court found that the benefit was entirely marital, but the court concluded that including the full value of the benefit in the marital estate (which the court determined should be divided 50/50) would result in a “windfall” to Gregory. The court therefore applied “the coverture fraction as if [Patricia] had remained working for the State” - even though Patricia had in fact quit her job with the State during the marriage. The Alaska Supreme Court agreed with Gregory’s argument that the court erred in applying this adjusted coverture fraction. "The superior court should have characterized the retirement medical benefit as marital or separate in accordance with the actual coverture fraction, valued the benefit at its full value, and divided the marital estate - including the retirement medical benefit - between the parties according to the statutory equitable factors." The Court therefore reversed the superior court’s equitable distribution of the marital estate and remanded for further consideration.