ANTINORA v. ANTINORA (Appellate Division, 4th Dep’t)

The Appellate Court reversed the lower court’s holding and found that the wife’s retirement account was a premarital asset not subject to equitable distribution while the husband’s Roth IRA was presumed to be marital property.

The wife provided sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that her retirement account was a marital asset with sufficient records establishing that her premarital employer sponsored the account and that contributions to the account only occurred prior to the marriage.  However, the husband failed to rebut the presumption either with testimony or evidence that his Roth IRA was separate property. Furthermore, the fact that the Roth IRA was listed on his net worth statement is also insufficient to rebut the marital presumption.

However, the Court rejected the wife’s contention that awarding the husband portions of her pension’s cost of living adjustments was improper.  Citing Majauskas, the Court reasoned that “[v]ested rights in noncontributory pension plan are marital property the extent that they are acquired between the date of marriage and the commencement of the matrimonial action, even through the rights are unmatured at the time the action is begun.”  As long as the post retirement cost of living adjustments paid by the pension plan were supplements and enhancements to already existing pension benefits, the husband was entitled to such adjustments.