Howell v. Howell

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Family Law
  • Date Filed: December 2, 2016
  • Case #: 15-1031
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 238 Ariz. 407 (2016)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether a former spouse is entitled to indemnification from a former veteran-spouse’s retirement when waived post divorce?

Petitioner was in the military and therefore entitled to military benefits. Petitioner and respondent divorced and a judgment was issued. After entry of the judgment, petitioner became disabled and elected to take his military disability benefits rather than his pension. Respondent argued she was entitled to indemnification to offset her loss of his disability benefits. The lower court agreed with respondent and the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed. There is a split within the states regarding how this issue should be resolved. Maine, Tennessee, Massachusetts and Rhode Island all agree with the Arizona Supreme Court on this issue while Vermont, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska and Nebraska have agreed with the petitioner. Petitioner further argues this case is of national importance as it will impact both veterans and their former spouses and this case is the ideal factual scenario for resolving this issue. 

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