Military Pension: What Happens to It in Divorce?

Husband and Wife marry.

Wife enters the armed forces.

Wife decides to make a career in military service.

Husband and Wife travel extensively for Wife’s career.

Twenty years go by.

Wife retires.

Wife begins to collect her military pension.

Husband files for divorce.

Husband seeks half of Wife’s military pension.

Wife, shocked and angry, vigorously opposes.

After all, she earned that pension. It’s hers.

As bitter a pill as it may be for Wife to swallow, that’s not the law.

A military pension, like any retirement account or benefit accrued during the course of a marriage, is considered marital property.

As such, under Florida divorce law governing property division in divorce, a military pension will be equitably divided.

In Florida, that means there is a rebuttable presumption that the portion of the pension accrued during the marriage will be equally divided.

Really, just like any other property or assets acquired, earned or vested during the marriage.

(But it may still “hit” people differently.)

Perhaps because of the special demands of life in the service, the divorce rate among service members is higher than among nonmilitary couples, and even greater when the spouse in the military is the wife and the husband is not in the military.

Read more in this Las Vegas KLAS TV 8 CBS article: I-Team: Military pension treated like community property in divorce

US-Born Teen Returned from Mexico Under Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Texas Husband and Wife have Daughter.

Husband and Wife divorce.

Husband allegedly absconds with US-born Daughter to Mexico in 2007, when Daughter is about 5 years old.

Wife seeks Daughter’s return through Mexican legal authorities under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, but Daughter cannot be located for eight years after her disappearance.

Mexican family court is made aware of another girl (Girl) with the same first name, approximate age and general appearance as Daughter.

Mexican family court orders that Girl be taken into custody, to be delivered to Wife.

Girl vigorously resists when Mexican law enforcement officers bodily remove Girl from her school classroom.

Once in Texas, Girl is DNA tested … and determined not to be Wife’s child.

Girl is returned to her family in Mexico.

Media attention over that fiasco rattles Husband.

Husband finally turns Daughter over to extended family, who turn her over to legal authorities in Mexico.

Daughter undergoes DNA test in Mexico, which confirms Daughter’s identity.

Wife travels to Mexico.

Wife appears in Mexican family court, where Mexican family court judge orders Daughter be restored to Wife’s custody.

Wife and Daughter return to Houston.

Husband will not face criminal charges as a result of Wife’s agreement to Daughter’s request

Read more in

  1. this NBC News article: Mom, Long-Missing Daughter Back in Houston After Mexico DNA Battle
  2. this NBC News article: DNA Proves Girl In Mexico Is Houston Mom’s Daughter
  3. this BBC News article: Alondra Diaz case: Mexico custody battle teen back in US and
  4. this Yahoo News article by way of AP: Mexico judge returns girl to custody of US mom after 8 years

How Many Fathers Does It Take to Make Twins?

New Jersey Mother has toddler twins. The twins’ putative (believed) Father is not in the picture.

Mother files a family court case for child support. To prove the identity of the Father, Mother is ordered to have the twins undergo a DNA Paternity Test.

And the DNA Paternity Test reports that one of the twins is the biological offspring of the putative Father … but not the other twin!

This may sound astonishing. But it is actually a recognized phenonomenon that occurs in a significant minority of pregancies, where the Mother has two or more sexual partners within five days of each other.

Read more in this Yahoo Parenting article: How Can Twins Have Two Different Fathers?

Support Payments Hit the Information Superhighway

Need to make an alimony or child support? Odds are that you can do that online today.

But, what if you prefer the old-fashioned way, say a paper check?

Well, that could be a no go, at least in Spartanburg, NC. They no longer accept real, uh, traditional checks.

Credit cards, fine. Electronic checks; those work too. Just no paper.

According to the local government, their new online payments system saves the government quite a bit of money, speeds up collections, and frees up considerable staff time.

So what’s wrong with that? Probably not much for the vast majority of people paying support today.

But for some folks, the nominal credit card processing service charges passed on to them add an incremental but cumulative “insult” to the injury of paying support.

And for a handful of people who are not computer literate or who don’t own computers, it will be a real inconvenience at the very least.

Read more in this Spartanburg [SC] Herald-Journal article: Court takes online payments but refuses checks

Alimony Reform Fails in Florida Again

Alimony reform (read reductions and restrictions) has been sweeping much of the nation over the last several years.

In Florida, a bill passed the legislature two years ago … but was vetoed by our governor.

This year, a bill was passed by the House … but fizzled out in the Senate due to a controversial presumption of equal timesharing embedded in the Senate version of the bill. And a lot of politicking.

So wives who fear being devastated by alimony reform have a reprieve for at least another year.

Read more in

  1. this [Fort Lauderdale] Sun Sentinel article: Controversial alimony bill dies amid acrimony before House adjournment and
  2. this Palm Beach Post article: Overhaul of alimony laws once again fails in Florida Legislature .

Study: Children Really are More Settled When They Move More Often to Spend Lots of Time with Both of Their Divorced Parents

We’ve all heard that children do best after divorce when they are able to have unlimited access to both parents and/or divide their time equally between living with each of their parents. Some recent studies seem to bear this out.

A study in Sweden finds that children who rotate homes weekly to divide their time evenly between both of their parents actually experience less stress and fewer psychosomatic symptoms than children who live in one home with one parent.

Further, not entirely surprisingly, what causes kids the most stress is when their parents are constantly fighting.

Read more in

  1. this Yahoo Parenting article: The Divorce Custody Arrangement That Benefits Kids Most
  2. this Time magazine article: This Divorce Arrangement Stresses Kids Out Most and
  3. this Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health article: Fifty moves a year: is there an association between joint physical custody and psychosomatic problems in children?

Disabled, Sperm-Free Alleged Father Fights Child Support Order

North Carolina Husband and Wife marry. Several years later, Wife becomes pregnant and later gives birth to a Child.

Husband and Wife try to reconcile for several more years, but then split up. Wife seeks child support.

Husband pays a modest amount of child support … until he becomes disabled and falls further and further behind. And decides to challenge the child support order in family court.

The thing is, years before Wife became pregnant, Husband underwent cancer treatment – and a vasectomy. Subsequently, Husband’s sperm count tested out at zero … three different times.

Scientifically, biologically, Husband cannot be Child’s father. Period.

But family court judge does not care. Husband and Wife were married at the time of Child’s birth.

And that is often how the law comes down when a child is born during a marriage, regardless of the pesky factual details. Unless the factual challenge is made fairly promptly.

And that is where Husband went wrong. And why he just may have to live with the consequences of his delay until the Child is legally emancipated.

For now, Husband has asked the family court to order a DNA paternity test. Time will tell whether this is something the family court will even entertain at this point in time.

Read more in this [Highpoint, NC] Fox 8 TV news article: Impossible father’ paying child support for son that can’t be his .

Getting a Get Can Come Very Dear

In the Orthodox Jewish community, if a woman hopes to remarry within the Orthodox community, she needs more than a divorce from a family court. She needs a religious divorce, known as a “get”.

The challenge is that obtaining a get requires the Husband’s consent. And sometimes they just don’t want to cooperate.

The community can apply social pressure to such an uncooperative Husband. But sometimes that’s not enough either.

In such cases, one may turn to a a rabbi, a Jewish clergyman, to sway the Husband.

Sometimes it is alleged that the rabbi goes overboard in obtaining the Husband’s consent.

In such a case, a New Jersey rabbi and his co-defendants have been convicted in federal court of conspiracy to commit kidnapping … but not of kidnapping, as well as some other charges.

Among the allegations were torture with electric cattle prods and other implements.

The arrests were the result of a sting operation.

The trial lasted eight weeks.

The convicted defendants plan to appeal.

Read more in

Tips for Divorce-Proofing Your Marriage

Experts suggest:

  1. Make each reunion warm
  1. Offer support
  1. Really connect, physically and emotionally, every day
  1. Never neglect the physical dimension of your relationship
  1. Remember to acknowledge the things your partner does for you, no matter how small
  1. Communicate about your feelings
  1. Send loving messages every day
  1. Be kind, not mean, no matter what
  1. Don’t cling to angry feelings

Read more in this Brides magazine article: 9 Daily Habits to Divorce-Proof Your Marriage.

Child Support Delinquency: Crack Down, Ease Up, Forget About It Completely?

In some states, there are some folks who spend some time in jail for nonpayment of child support.

If they genuinely are unable to pay, this may seem harsh. Actually, even if they are able to pay but just choose not to, this may still seem harsh.

There are some more who temporarily lose their driver’s license for nonpayment of child support. Ditto. Ditto.

One New York father, highlighted in a recent newspaper article, was shot fleeing a police officer … who stopped his car over a broken taillight.

The deceased man’s brother attributes this improbable incident to the man’s child support delinquency. Specifically, he postulates that his brother ran because he feared being jailed and losing his job due to the broken light.

The surviving brother claims that his deceased brother was eventually discharged from every single job that he ever had because he was incarcerated during his employment in each position over his child support arrears.

While conceding that incarceration does encourage payment by parents who have the ability to pay, opponents of incarceration for child support delinquency maintain that it has a punitive impact on poor people, confining them in a vicious circle of unemployment, arrears and jail.

They further voice the opinion that child support orders routinely are unfairly large to begin with, so the paying parent is set up for failure, property seizures, suspension of licenses to drive and engage in a business or profession. ( Note: child support calculations vary widely from state to state, as does use of incarceration as a means of enforcement of payment. )

One thing that is the same in every state: if a custodial parent applies for public assistance, the government will eventually seek to collect child support as reimbursement for assistance paid out to that parent.

Read more in this New York Times article: Skip Child Support. Go to Jail. Lose Job. Repeat.