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In re Marriage of Jensen

Court of Appeals of Iowa

August 7, 2019

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF JAY TODD JENSEN AND KIMBERLY MARIE JENSEN Upon the Petition of JAY TODD JENSEN, Petitioner-Appellant, And Concerning KIMBERLY MARIE JENSEN, Respondent-Appellee.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Lucas County, Dustria A. Relph, Judge.

         Jay Todd Jensen appeals from the decree of dissolution of his marriage to Kimberly Marie Jensen.

          Alexander E. Wonio of Hansen, McClintock & Riley, Des Moines, for appellant.

          Bryan J. Goldsmith of Gaumer, Emanuel, Carpenter & Goldsmith, P.C., Ottumwa, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., Tabor, J., and Carr, S.J. [*]

          CARR, SENIOR JUDGE.

         Jay Todd Jensen appeals from the decree of dissolution of his marriage to Kimberly Marie Jensen. He argues the court should not have considered his disability and special pay from his military service when awarding Kimberly's retirement accounts entirely to her. We find that awarding each party their respective retirement accounts is equitable, and we affirm the district court.

         Jay was born in 1970. Kimberly was born in 1962. They married in 2000. Jay's petition for dissolution proceeded to a hearing on February 16, 2018. Their relationship produced three children, ages twenty-one, seventeen, and fourteen at the time of the hearing.

         Jay served in the military during much of the marriage and was officially discharged in 2013. He has 100% disability from his military service.[1] Upon discharge, he waived his standard military retirement benefits to receive disability compensation and an additional Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC), both of which are excluded from income tax and continue for the rest of his life. The court determined he is entitled to $3024.27 in monthly disability compensation, [2] $847 in monthly CRSC, and $1466 in monthly Social Security benefits. For purposes of child support, the court calculated his adjusted net monthly income as $5337.27. He also testified he has "a very small IPERS [Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System] account" worth about $900.

         Kimberly works for the United States Postal Service (USPS). The district court noted she "is 55 years old and appears to be in general good health." For purposes of child support, the court calculated her adjusted net monthly income as $3739.05. She contributed to two retirement accounts during her employment with USPS. First, she contributed to a Thrift Savings Plan, [3] which, as of December 31, 2016, had a value of $53, 518.99[4] and would generate a monthly payment of $242 upon retirement. Second, she contributed to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) in a total amount of $4085.26 as of November 8, 2017. She calculated her participation in FERS at the time entitles her to a monthly FERS benefit of $473.25 upon retirement.

         On March 29, 2018, the district court issued the dissolution decree. Regarding the parties' retirement accounts, the district court stated it

recognizes the inherent unfairness that would exist if the Court were to order Kimberly's retirement to be divided while awarding Jay the entirety of his disability payments and retirement accounts free and clear without regard to Kimberly.
Accordingly, the Court will award both parties their respective retirement accounts and disability payments, and the debts thereon, exclusively without either account being subject to division.

         The district court also divided the parties' remaining marital assets and substantial debts, [5] and it ...


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