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Supreme Court rules on second military divorce case in a week

Monday, December 11, 2017

The nation's Supreme Court recently ordered the Supreme Court of another state to re-examine its decision in a divorce between a military veteran and his ex-wife. This is significant in that a week earlier the justices had ruled in another military divorce case. Military personnel in Texas and around the country are taking note of these rulings and their potential impact on divorce proceedings.

In the initial case, the justices ruled that a state had wrongly ordered a veteran to pay his ex-wife money to account for what she lost when part of his pension was converted to disability payments. That ruling acknowledged the potential hardship the loss of the pension funding could cause on ex-spouses. However, the decision was primarily based on the law that disability benefits were not to be considered in divorce settlements.

The same scenario exists in the second case. The couple's divorce settlement specified that the wife would receive part of her husband's military pension, per the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act of 1982. However, a veteran's disability payments are protected from becoming part of a divorce settlement. The income of the ex-wife was reduced when the veteran converted part of his pension to disability payments.

While the Arizona Supreme Court initially agreed that the veteran should make up for the ex-wife's lost income, the United States Supreme Court justices disagreed. Their ruling holds that a state cannot order what was banned by the U.S. Congress. Representatives for the ex-wives stated that these decisions have put military spouses at a disadvantage.

When Texas military personnel or veterans are involved in divorce proceedings, it would be beneficial to seek the guidance of an attorney familiar with military divorce. Due to several unique considerations, it is imperative to seek guidance from a lawyer who has handled other military divorce cases. A dedicated legal team can assist a client with the complex issues in a military divorce and work toward achieving a successful outcome.

Source: cronkitenews.azpbs.org, "Supreme Court sends second divorce settlement case back to Arizona", Nathan J. Fish, May 22, 2017

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