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U.S. Supreme Court wades into issue of military divorce

The dissolution of a marriage is often a relief for the parties involved. When one or both parties are in the service, it makes good sense to rely upon a family law attorney experienced in handling the unique issues that are typically involved. In fact, the U. S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could impact every military divorce, including those in California. 

The court case under consideration involves a dispute over pension and disability pay following a 1991 divorce between a former Air Force serviceman and his ex-spouse. At the time of the divorce, the couple agreed that the former wife would receive half of the man's military pension. In 2005, the man sought disability pay for an injury he had suffered during his service. As a result of seeking this change in his status, he agreed to forfeit an estimated 20 percent of his retirement pay.

Because of the reduction in the pension payments, the ex-wife also lost a portion of the retirement income previously awarded to her. She then filed a lawsuit, claiming that her ex-husband broke their original agreement. Every Arizona court that heard the case ruled in favor of the ex-wife, and the case has now made its way to the nation's highest court. An amicus brief has been filed with the U. S. Supreme Court, arguing that disability pay to a veteran must be protected. At issue is whether they should be subject to property division under the circumstances presented.

Five states have decided that these monies must be shared and five states have said that they are not subject to being split. A veteran's organization is hoping that a decision from the Supreme Court will settle the issue permanently and will set a standard for every state to follow. California residents who are seeking to file a military divorce can consult with a family law professional who is experienced in handling the unique circumstances involved in these divorce proceedings.

Source: cronkitenews.azpbs.org, "Supreme Court to hear dispute on pension payments in Arizonan divorce", Alexis Egeland, March 17, 2017

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