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Spousal support obligation ended by appellate court

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2020 | property division |

It goes without saying that divorce proceedings can be incredibly complex. Most of those people in Birmingham working through them, however, likely believe that once the court finalizes their agreement, the challenges are over and no new surprises are coming their way. 

When it comes to divorce, however, that is rarely the case. Indeed, divorce is much more of a process than it is an event, and as circumstances change in each party’s lives, so too may the parameters of their divorce agreement. 

An appellate court reversal 

This fact was clearly demonstrated in a recent ruling handed down by an Indiana state appellate court. At issue was the divorce agreement between a former military member and his ex-spouse. As part of their divorce settlement, he was to pay her a portion of the benefits package he accepted before walking away from the military prior to qualifying for his pension. However, following the terrorist attacks in 2001, he entered back into active duty, and in the subsequent years logged sufficient active-duty time to qualify for a full pension. 

While receiving the pre-pension benefits, he had maintained his payments to his ex-spouse. Upon receiving his pension, however, he discontinued making those payments believing that his ex-spouse was not entitled to any portion of his pension. She pressed the court, and a trial court agreed with her claim that he should remain obligated to pay her. However, the appellate court cited language in the initial agreement designated his potential pension as separate property as justification for ending the obligation. 

Help dealing with the complexities 

This case illustrates the need divorced couples have of having access to informative resources to help them navigate their way through their post-divorce lives. An experienced attorney may be just such a resource.