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Military Divorce

Court of Appeals of Virginia Daren Earl Boedeker v. Heather Ann Larson 44 Va. App. 508; 605 S.E. 2d 764

Ms. Pedersen (formerly Larson) has personal and professional experience with the division of military pensions, including CSB/Redux, upon the divorce of a service member and his or her spouse.

Summary: Appellee wife filed a bill of complaint for divorce against appellant husband. A final decree was entered by the Circuit Court of Isle of Wight County (Virginia) incorporating the separation agreement. The husband appealed from the denial of his motions to vacate the portion of the decree awarding the wife a portion of the husband’s military career status bonus (CSB/Redux bonus) and for rehearing.

Overview:

The husband argued that the wife was not entitled to share in his CSB/Redux bonus as it was post-separation pay. The appellate court held that state courts could enforce separation agreements dividing preempted benefits under contract law. Based on the separation agreement and the husband’s admission that his CSB/Redux bonus would reduce his military retirement, the trial court did not err in ruling that the wife was entitled to a portion of the bonus as a retirement benefit as that term was used in the agreement. The statutory scheme made clear that the CSB/Redux bonus was in the nature of retirement pay. The parties’ agreement stated that they had disclosed all “retirement or pension types of accounts” and agreed that the wife was entitled to one-half of the marital share of the husband’s military retirement. The trial court could bind the husband to his original agreement regarding the wife’s share of the Redux bonus, even though he later changed his position.

Decision:

The trial court’s decision was affirmed.

 

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