Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a decision upholding the right of a second spouse to intervene in the enforcement of the divorce decree between her husband and his former wife.
In In re Miller v. Miller, Molloy(intervenor), No. A19-0372, (Minn. Jan. 20, 2021), R. Miller and P. Miller, the original husband and wife, never distributed R. Miller’s retirement accounts according to their divorce judgment and decree entered in 2004.
After the divorce, R. Miller remarried to Molloy and they had a child. R. Miller then listed his children with P. Miller and his child with Molloy as the beneficiaries of his retirement accounts.
R. Miller died in 2018 (more than fourteen (14) years after entry of the divorce decree) without a will. P. Miller filed a motion to enforce the distribution of the retirement accounts to her. Molloy then filed to intervene in the case on behalf of her child with R. Miller.
The Minnesota Supreme Court granted the Molloy’s motion to intervene in the case. The matter has been sent down to the district court to allow the new wife to present her case.
What Does This Mean for Me?
This case didn’t need to happen. An experienced family law attorney should assist their client in finalizing the division of property promptly after the divorce is entered. Further, an estate plan should be crafted and implemented after any life changing event, such as a divorce.
Here at Messick Law, we know that the work of a divorce is not complete when an order is issued by the Court. We guide and assist our clients in ensuring that property and assets are properly transferred following a decree. Our work isn’t done until the work is done.
Additionally, proper estate planning immediately after the dissolution was entered could have crafted a solution to avoid the mess in this case. Unfortunately, the family in the case cited herein is likely to be embroiled in years’ long litigation.