Robinette v. HunseckerAnnotate this Case
Ex-Wife and Husband entered into a property settlement agreement that included an allocation of future benefits from the retirement plan sponsored by Husband’s employer. The agreement implied that Husband’s retirement plan was regulated by ERISA, although Husband’s plan was exempt from that law, and incorrectly contemplated that the divorce judgment itself would effect the division of the retirement plan benefits. Husband later remarried and designated his new wife (Wife) as his beneficiary under the retirement plan. After Husband died, Ex-Wife filed a complaint alleging that Wife had been unjustly enriched in receiving Husband’s entire pension and death benefits. The circuit court issued an order establishing a constructive trust in favor of Ex-Wife with respect to a portion of the benefits already paid to Wife and ordered the retirement plan to allocate future benefits between Wife and Ex-Wife in a similar manner. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in issuing a posthumous order directing the retirement plan to allocate a portion of the Husband’s death benefit to Ex-Wife and in imposing a constructive trust on a portion of those benefits already received by Wife.