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Rebecca Kinsel

Imagine paying Spousal Support for years, and when you reach the finish line of spousal support at your year of retirement, you try to get ahead by working a few extra years instead of retiring. Sounds reasonable, right? That’s exactly what happened in the case of Woloshin v. Woloshin, Record No. 1147-19-4, March 31, 2020. CAV (Beales) from Arlington Cir. Ct. (DiMatteo). In that case, the husband, a law firm partner, had a Property Settlement Agreement (PSA) with his ex-wife. The PSA called for splitting his retirement account and defined his retirement date as “the last day of the fiscal year of the firm in which Husband reaches age 66.” The husband decided to work a few extra years, thinking he would only have to split the retirement he would have received up to his “retirement date.” He was wrong.

Because the Settlement Agreement did not specifically call for a contingency plan if the husband chose to work beyond the agreed-upon “retirement date,” the Court of Appeals upheld the Circuit Court’s decision that the Husband had to pay one-half of the marital share of his full retirement benefits earned, not just her share up to the retirement date.

Experienced domestic attorneys understand the importance of precision when drafting PSAs, and the value of considering as many potential contingencies as possible during  the drafting stage to avoid costly oversights at the expense of their client.