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CRSC Pay and Divorce in Arizona | Voted “Best of the Valley”

Posted on : February 29, 2016, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Combat Related Special Compensation and Divorce in Arizona.

CRSC Pay and Divorce in Arizona

CRSC Pay and Divorce in Arizona.

CRSC Pay and Divorce in Arizona.

Married couples seeking dissolution of marriage in the state of Arizona go through the divorce process in the Family Court. The division of marital assets is handled during this process. In cases where military benefits are among the list of assets and income to be considered, there can be some confusion regarding the division of military benefits in an Arizona divorce. Robert and Diane Merrill were married in 1963. While in combat in Vietnam, Robert Merrill was injured. He then retired from the army and went to work in the private sector in 1983. In 1993, Robert Merrill and Diane Merrill were divorced. At the time of the divorce, Robert received Military Retirement Pay and VA disability benefits (according to a disability rating of 18.62 percent). Robert’s disability benefits were not divided by family court, but each party was awarded 50% of the Military Retirement Pay as their sole and separate property.

The Family court issued a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to implement its award. After the divorce, Robert Merrill became unemployable due to the injuries he sustained during combat in Vietnam. As a result, the VA changed Robert’s disability rating to 100% in 2004 making him eligible to receive Combat Related Special Compensation which permits some injured veterans to waive some of their disposable Military Retirement Pay for an equal amount of tax-free Combat-Related Special Compensation Pay.

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
A Google User
20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Google User
Google User
14:58 04 Oct 17
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
A Google User
A Google User
16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
A Google User
A Google User
22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
A Google User
A Google User
18:16 18 Sep 17
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
A Google User
A Google User
19:22 23 Aug 17
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
A Google User
A Google User
17:44 23 Jun 16
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
Bassam Ziadeh
Bassam Ziadeh
21:20 02 Apr 18
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Larry Flint
Larry Flint
21:53 27 Feb 18
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
Sam Franchimone
Sam Franchimone
22:09 12 Sep 13

Federal Law Provides That CRSC Compensation is Not Community Property

Combat-Related Special Compensation Pay and Divorce.

Combat-Related Special Compensation Pay and Divorce.

According to federal law, the courts are prohibited from treating Combat-Related Special Compensation pay as community property. When Robert waived a significant portion of his Military Retirement Pay in accordance with this rule, Diane’s monthly share as allotted in the 2004 settlement decreased significantly (i.e. Diane’s monthly allotment decreased from $1,116 to $133 in 2010). Diane petitioned the court to award her arrearages due to reduced shares of military retirement pay, as well as compensation for future reduced payments. Her petition was denied. The Court cited Section 25-318.01 reasoning that law prescribed the requested relief. This decision was reversed by the Court of Appeals, which held that Section 25-318.01 upon which the decision was based only applied to VA disability benefits not Combat-Related Special Compensation pay. Case law was applied and the Court of Appeals concluded that Robert must indemnify Diane against the financial loss of the decreased Military Retirement Pay.

Hildebrand Law, PC | Voted Best of Our Valley in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

Hildebrand Law, PC | Voted Best of Our Valley in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

The Arizona Court of Appeals remanded the case back to the Family Court so that a determination could be made regarding Robert’s ability to indemnify Diane from his non-exempt assets. On remand, the Family Court awarded Diane arrearages as well as a monthly stipend to cover future losses. Robert appealed as the Family Court did not determine whether he could indemnify Diane using his non-exempt assets as ordered by the Court of Appeals. In 2014, while Robert’s appeal was pending, Section 25-318.01 was amended to apply to Combat-Related Special Compensation benefits in addition to VA with the change applied retroactively to July 28, 2010 (one day prior to the original version’s effective date). Robert filed a motion and the Court of Appeals vacated the 2013 order without addressing the issues raised on the pending appeal. They did so according to the interpretation that the retroactive change had superseded portions of the case at hand deeming the 2010 petition filed by Diane denied.

 

After considering legal arguments presented by both Appellee and Appellate, the Arizona Court of Appeals concluded Section 25-318.01 cannot be applied to prevent the Family Court from generating an order for compensation of a non-military ex-spouse for a reduction in their awarded share of Military Retirement Pay when the reduction is caused by the veteran’s choice to receive Combat Related Special Compensation benefits and when the award under discussion was included in a decree that was entered prior to the statute’s effective date. The case was, therefore, remanded to the trial court for further rulings. It is important to be aware that the Merrill v. Merrill decision was not a published opinion and, with a few exceptions, may not be cited as legal authority for the rulings made in that case.

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