Articles Tagged with supreme court

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I would like to begin this blog post by thanking all those who are currently serving in the United States military and to all Veterans  that have served. Currently, there are approximately 22 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces and 1.5 million currently serving. On September 15, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling potentially affecting their military families. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled in May, 2017, in the case of Howell v. Howell (No.15-1037) that a state court may not order a veteran to indemnify a divorced spouse for the loss in the divorced spouse’s portion of the veteran’s retirement pay caused by the veteran’s waiver of retirement pay to receive service-related disability benefits.

The facts surrounding case involved an Arizona court awarding Sandra Howell half of Air Force veteran John Howell’s retirement pay when the couple was divorced in 1991. Mr. Howell later became eligible for disability benefits in 2005 and elected to waive $250 of his $1,500 a month in retirement pay, which is taxable, in favor of $250 monthly disability pay, which is not taxable. The election reduced his ex-wife’s monthly divorce settlement by $125 and she went back to court requesting her half of what his pay would have been had he not chosen the election.  She won and the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed that decision.  Mr. Howell appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court which reversed the state Supreme Court’s decision.file000366641089-300x225

The Supreme Court further affirmed and clarified the prior decision that retirement pay that is received from the military as disability payments that commenced solely because of a service member’s disability is not payable to a former spouse. Mansell v. Mansell, 490, U.S. 581, 584 (1989). The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) precludes a state court, within the context of a divorce proceeding, from dividing military disability retirement pay pursuant to state property laws because the USFSPA authorizes that only disposable retired or retainer pay be counted as marital property for equitable distribution. 10 U.S.C. § 1408(a) (4) and (7).

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It is hard to believe that the end of summer is fast approaching. Whether you consider the beginning of summer to be Memorial Day weekend or the 4th of July, it still seems like it was only yesterday. How time flies. Besides shorter days, cooler nights, school commencing, and packing away the swim suits, the end of summer ushers in another tradition which members of the legal community can look forward to – the Amendments to the New Jersey Court Rules. Gavel & book Continue reading

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One hundred and fifty two years ago, over the course of July 1-3rd 1863, the armies of the Union and Confederacy met in the sleepy town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and engaged in the largest military battle ever fought on the United States soil.  The Union’s victory at the Battle of Gettysburg and General Robert E. Lee’s retreat of the Army of Northern Virginia back south, under cover darkness on the evening of July 4, 1863 is often referred to as the turning point of the Civil War and the beginning of the end for the Confederate States of America.   Continue reading

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In 2013 this firm addressed in this blog our State’s view on Palimony on three occasions. First, in “The State Of Palimony in the State of New Jersey“, Karen Willitts outlined the general law of palimony before and after the 2010 amendment to the “Statute of Frauds”, N.J.S.A. 25:1-5(h) which required palimony agreements to be in writing and the result of consultation with independent counsel to be binding agreements. Continue reading

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girlsThe case of US v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 7, (2013),  decided on the last day of the United States   Supreme Court’s term on June 26, 2013, declared unconstitutional certain provisions of Bill Clinton’s landmark legislation, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, commonly referred to as “DOMA”.  Continue reading