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Family Law

Sunday, October 2, 2016

How Does the Servicemember Recoup the Former Spouse's Share of Retired Pay if the Former Spouse Dies First?


When a former spouse (FS) passes away, how long does it take for the retired servicemember (SM) to recover the FS's share of retired pay?   As discussed in a previous blog, a FS's share of military retired pay will only terminate in one of two ways:
  1. On the death of the FS, or
  2. On death of the SM.

Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) Divorce: Basic Employee Death Benefit


In our previous blog about Federal Civil Service Divorce, we discussed that the Employee must have at least 10 years of creditable service before a Former Spouse qualifies in divorce for award of a Former Spouse Survivor Annuity (FSSA).  To read that blog,


Read more . . .


Monday, September 12, 2016

Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) Divorce: Former Spouse Survivor Annity (FSSA) Qualification


In a Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) divorce, the former spouse’s share of the Employee’s annuity stops on the death of the Employee.  Award of a

Read more . . .


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Military Relocation (i.e. PCS) Does Not Require the Military Member or Spouse to Change Domicile


Military members and their spouses do not automatically acquire a new “domicile” when the relocate (“PCS”) to a new duty station in a new State. 

First, let’s distinguish the terms “residence” from “domicile.”  A residence is an address or place where you live.  A domicile is the one residence that you consider to be your permanent home.  To better understand the concept, think of the rich and famous.


Read more . . .


Monday, August 8, 2016

Survivor Benefit Plan Now Transferrable to New Spouse after Former Spouse Dies


Until passage of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), any Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage awarded a former spouse in a military divorce vanished when the former spouse died before the retired servicemember.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Military Retirement System Reform Starting in 2018


The National Defense Authorization Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-92) has changed the landscape of the military retirement system, as follows:

  1. Persons entering the military on or after January 1, 2018, will be under the new "modernized" retirement system.
  2. Servicemembers with less than 12 years of service as of December 31, 2017 (i.e.
    Read more . . .


Monday, June 20, 2016

Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) "Base Amount" at Retirement or Divorce


A servicemember's military retired pay stops when the servicemember dies.  Likewise, in military divorce, a former spouse's share of military retired pay also stops when the servicemember dies.  How can the former spouse replace some or all of the income stream from retired pay that terminates on the servicemember's death?  The answer is to have Read more . . .


Monday, June 6, 2016

Part 2 - Completing a Divorce When the Other Spouse's Whereabouts Are Unknown


This is the second in a two-part blog.  This second blog focuses on the two tracks available for finishing a divorce when: (1) the other spouse's whereabouts are unknown; (2) the other spouse has been served by "Citation by Publication"; and, (3) the other spouse failed to file an answer or other responsive pleading.  Before reading this blog, you might want to glance at the first blog by clicking Read more . . .


Monday, May 23, 2016

Completing a Divorce When the Other Spouse's Whereabouts are Unknown


The law requires that the spouse you are suing for divorce (i.e. the Respondent) be served with a copy of the divorce petition and afforded an opportunity to respond.  How can you meet that requirement when the whereabouts of the other spouse are unknown?

In these situations, the law permits the other spouse to be served with legal notice by "citation by publication."  Citation by publication involves posting the legal notice involving the petition for divorce in a local newspaper.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Unmarried Cohabitants and an Entitlement to Spousal Maintenance (Not!)


Occasionally I get asked whether a partner from a long-time cohabitation relationship can ever qualify for court-ordered "spousal" maintenance?  The answer is, "no."  Section 8.061 of the Family Code makes clear that "an order for maintenance is not authorized between unmarried cohabitants under any circumstances.


Read more . . .


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Divorce and Ex-Spouse's Authority Under Statutory Durable Power of Attorney


If you appointed your spouse as your Agent under a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney, divorce terminates your now ex-spouse's authorities.  The only exception is where the Statutory Durable Power of Attorney expressly provides otherwise.

While termination of the ex-spouse's authority occurs "by operation of law," it is prudent for the principal to direct the ex-spouse / former Agent to surrender the now defunct Statutory Durable Power of Attorney.  The principal might also wish to take certain actions to notify financial institutions and other important entities of the termination of the Agent's authority to act since these institutions are not liable to the principal unless they have "actual knowledge" of the Agent's termination.

Speak with a qualified divorce / family law and estate planning attorney for further information on this and related topics.


Read more . . .


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