Merrill v. Merrill: The Wife said the husband had cut her sole-and-separate share of his military retirement benefits by waiving them in the favor of the CRSC.
A former spouse who, in the judgment of divorce, has been awarded an interest in the other spouse’s military retirement pay may be entitled to relief from the retiree’s unilateral decision to receive disability benefits in lieu of retirement pay even though the decree contains no express reference to a disability waiver. Thus, former husband who, after divorce, unilaterally waived his military retirement pay in favor of a tax benefit afforded to him as a disabled veteran was required to make former wife whole by paying her an amount equal to the resulting decrease in her one‑half share of former husband’s military retirement pay, which had been awarded to her in divorce proceedings as her sole and separate property; former husband’s unilateral decision to receive the tax benefit resulted in a reduction in former wife’s monthly share of retirement pay from $1,116 to $133.
Laura Morgan is a Family Law Consultant. Laura is available for consultation, brief writing and research on family law issues throughout the country. She can be reached through her Web site.
For attorneys bold enough to accept the challenge, here are some tips to help you get started on handling military retirement benefits for your clients.