When looking for Ohio military divorce laws or specifically how Ohio applies the USFSPA in a military divorce, several cases (stated below) repeatedly arise in decree discussions.
Ohio declares military retirement benefits marital property per Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3105.171(a)(3)(A)(1) (Supp. 1992).
Many cases in Ohio discuss the term vested retirement pay which means the retirement pay is payable when the member ceases to work. In the case of the military service member, retirement pay is vested at retirement (20 years service).
Current Ohio cases demonstrate that Ohio permits unvested military retirement pay to be considered when dividing marital assets. In other words, military retired pay is divisible even if the member is still serving at time of divorce.
Divorce Cases Setting Precedent in Ohio
- 1984 Anderson v. Anderson, 13 Ohio App. 3d 194 468 N.E. 2d 784 No. 83-CA-53.
- 1985 Teeter v. Teeter, 18 Ohio St.3d 76, 78 (1985): Military pensions earned during marriage are marital assets to be considered during division of property
- 1988 Lemon v. Lemon, 42 Ohio App. 3d 142, 537 N.E.2d 246: Established nonvested
pensions as divisible marital property; even though a pension is not yet vested (as occurs at 20 years of military service), the pension has value to be considered during division of property
- 1989 Holcomb v. Holcomb, 44 Ohio St.3d 128, 132, 541 N.E.2d 597, 600-601: Ohio Supreme Court, pension or retirement benefits which are accumulated during marriage are marital assets and are subject to property division during a divorce.
- 1992 King v. King, 78 Ohio App. 3d 599, 605 N.E.2d 970: The trial court did not abuse its discretion when it did not consider the wife’s unvested pension, but instead in this case the pension was not divided because it was unclear whether the funds listed on the balance sheets were ever actually deposited into a pension fund; whether the fund actually existed; if the funds listed on the balance sheet represented the amounts of the accrued pension; what percentage of any funds that might have existed belonged to the wife as opposed to other employees; or how long it would be before any potential pension would vest. source
- 1993 Cherry v. Figart, 86 Ohio App. 3d 123, 620 N.E.2d 174: Distinguishing King by affirming division of nonvested pension where parties had agreed to divide the retirement benefits and suit was brought for enforcement only – the initial judgment incorporating the agreement had not been appealed
- 1993 Ingalls v. Ingalls, 624 N.E.2d 368 C-11: Affirmed division of nonvested military retirement benefits consistent with agreement of the parties expressed at trial.
- 1994 Siler v. Siler, WL 386106: Held that while there may be speculation as to whether or not a party’s military pension will eventually vest, a trial court can consider retirement pay to be a marital asset subject to division.
- 2000 Collins v. Collins 137 Ohio App. 3d. 900, 746 N.E. 2d 201, 2nd, Dist. Montgomery County: Discusses “voluntary separation for the apparent purpose of depriving an ex-spouse of a court-ordered benefit.”
- 2007 Hasselback v. Hasselback, 10th Dist. No. 06AP-776, 2007-Ohio-762: Calculated division of pay when there is both active duty and National Guard service
- 2012 Lees v. Lees, 5th Dist. No. 11CAF050039, 2012-Ohio-770: Using the coverture fraction in the Military Qualifying Order(MQO)
- 2012 Daniel v. Daniel CASE NO. 10-11-09; Trial Court No. 09-DIV-032: Held that military retirement pay is divisible; also discusses handling IRAs in divorce
Note: This page will be edited as more Ohio case laws and links become available.
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