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Cornelison v. Cornelison

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

April 24, 2015

Bobby Dean Cornelison
v.
Kathleen Theresa Cornelison n/k/a Kathleen Cramer

          Appeal from Madison Circuit Court. (DR-98-1076.02).

         For Appellant: Karen Humphrey, Huntsville.

         For Appellee: Dinah P. Rhodes of Rhodes & Creech, L.L.C., Huntsville.

         THOMPSON, Presiding Judge. Pittman, Thomas, Moore, and Donaldson, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

Page 884

          THOMPSON, Presiding Judge.

         Kathleen Theresa Cornelison n/k/a Kathleen Cramer (" the wife" ) and Bobby Dean Cornelison (" the husband" ) were divorced by an August 7, 1998, judgment of the Madison Circuit Court (" the trial court" ). That divorce judgment incorporated the terms of a settlement agreement reached by the parties. In pertinent part, the divorce judgment provided, with regard to the division of retirement benefits:

" 21. The Wife shall be entitled to 50% of the amount of the Husband's retirement from the National Guard when he retires from the same. The Wife shall pay all the taxes due on all of her portion of said retirement benefits.
" The Husband (military member) ... will retire from the National Guard in June 2005 and he will receive military retirement benefits at the age of sixty.
" The parties agree that the Wife (recipient spouse), ... shall receive one-half (1/2) of the Husband's disposable military retirement pay beginning as soon as practicable upon the Husband's retirement, and continuing for so long as the Husband is entitled to receive such benefits. The division of the Husband's military retirement pay from his service in the National Guard shall constitute a property settlement to the Wife and shall not be modifiable in the future.
" The parties' marriage began on September 18, 1980. The Husband's military service began in June 1979 and it is estimated that said service will terminate in June 2005.
" The Wife (recipient spouse) is eligible for direct payment of her portion of the Husband's military retirement pay from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) as a result of the parties' being married for more than ten years of creditable service on active duty in the National Guard. ...
" The Defense [Finance] and Accounting Service, or its successor, is authorized and directed to make direct payments of the Wife's one-half of the Husband's disposable military retired pay directly to the Wife ... at such address as she may from time to time provide to DFAS or its successor. Said payments shall begin effective upon the Husband's retirement and shall continue payable to the Wife until the death of the Husband.
" If, during any month that the Husband is entitled to receive military retired pay, DFAS or its successor shall fail or refuse to make a direct payment to the Wife and makes instead payment of the Wife's portion to the Husband, then the Husband agrees to immediately pay to the Wife her portion of the military retired pay, it is intended that this Order shall qualify as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order as such is defined

Page 885

under Section 414(p) of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986, as amended. The parties agree that this Court shall retain jurisdiction to amend this Order as might be necessary to establish or maintain its status as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or otherwise to carry out the intent of this Agreement.
" 22. The Wife shall be entitled to 50% of the amount in the Husband's police pensions as of the date of the entry of a final decree of divorce, it is intended that said amount as determined by said date is a property settlement and the Wife shall not be entitled to further benefits from said plans which may have accrued after said date. The parties agree that pursuant to Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, 50% of the Husband's pension plans, as of said date, shall be set aside and segregated for the benefit of the wife in the PEBSCO, Retirement Systems of Alabama plan, and Police Office Annuity Funds. Such Qualified Domestic Relations Orders will be substantially in the form of the Orders which are attached to this ...

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