from the Superior Court in Yuma County, The Honorable Stephen
J. Rouff, Judge Pro Tempore, No. S1400DO201501132. VACATED IN
PART AND REMANDED
of the Court of Appeals, Division One, 796 Ariz.Adv.Rep. 31,
Filed July 31, 2018. VACATED IN PART
K. Boyte Henderson (argued), Mary Katherine Boyte, P.C.,
Yuma, Attorney for Shelly Rae Barron
Cook, S. Alan Cook, P.C., Phoenix; Keith Berkshire (argued),
Kristi Reardon, Erica Gadberry, Berkshire Law Office, PLLC,
Tempe; Richard G. Maxon, Tempe; Theodore C. Jarvi, Tempe,
Attorneys for Paul Roger Barron
JUSTICE BALES authored the opinion of the Court, in which
VICE CHIEF JUSTICE BRUTINEL and JUSTICES TIMMER, BOLICK,
GOULD, LOPEZ, and PELANDER (RETIRED) joined.
[¶1] In this divorce case, we hold that
federal law does not permit a state court to order a military
spouse to pay the equivalent of military retirement benefits
to a former spouse if the military spouse continues to work
past an eligible retirement date.
Paul Barron ("Husband") and Shelly Rae Barron
("Wife") married in 2004, when Husband was an
active duty member of the United States Marine Corps. When
they divorced in 2017, Husband was still an active duty
service member. As part of the dissolution proceedings, the
superior court found that Husband could retire in 2023 after
twenty years of military service and divided the parties’
assets, including Husband’s military retirement pay
("MRP"), assuming Husband would apply for and
collect retirement as soon as he became eligible.
The dissolution decree provided that Wife was entitled to 29%
of the MRP. The trial judge also ordered Husband, if he chose
to work beyond his retirement-eligibility date, to begin
making payments to Wife equivalent to what she would have
received as her share of the MRP had he retired.
Ariz. 450] [¶4] On appeal, Husband argued
that the court improperly ordered him to indemnify Wife if he
chose to remain in the military on active duty status.
Barron v. Barron, 796 Ariz.Adv.Rep. 31, 35 ¶ 24,
2018 WL 3722815 at *5 (Ariz. App. July 31, 2018). The court
of appeals agreed and reversed, reasoning that federal law
precludes such indemnification. Id. at 37 ¶ 30, 2018
WL 3722815 at *7.
We granted review because division of military retirement
benefits is a recurring legal issue of statewide importance.
We have jurisdiction under ...