State court has jurisdiction to modify divorce decree to resolve disagreements in federal retirement benefits with FAA: DOERR V. DOERR (COA 3/21/2008)

DOERR v DOERR
FAMILY LAW:
Relief From Agreement, Jurisdiction To Modify
2006-CA-000739
PUBLISHED: REVERSING AND REMANDING
PANEL: ACREE PRESIDING; COMBS, TAYLOR CONCUR
FROM JEFFERSON COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 3/21/2008

The parties were divorced in 1990 and the divorce decree contained a provision regarding the husband’s retirement benefits. In 2005, when the husband retired from the Louisville AFSS Department of Transportation FAA, he noticed that his ex-wife was receiving more than her intended share of the benefits. In order to correct the error, since the settlement agreement failed to adequately address the issue, he filed a motion with the TC to modify the decree. The TC denied the motion finding that it lacked appropriate jurisdiction and recommended that the husband seek relief in federal court. COA found that the TC does have proper jurisdiction under 5 CFR § 838.101 (a), which specifically states that state courts have the authority to resolve disagreements concerning validity or provisions of any court order. Reversed and remanded.

Digested by Sarah Jost Nielsen, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates

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