PROPERTY DIVISION - MILITARY RETIREMENT/DISABILITY | Lockamy v. Lockamy
After the entry of a divorce decree that incorporated a settlement agreement granting the wife 40% of the husband's military retirement benefits, and that awarded such benefits to wife as part of the equitable division of marital property, the navy determined that the benefits in question were actually disability benefits that could not be divided and the husband stopped making the payments. Six years later, the wife filed a motion to reform the divorce decree to provide for permanent periodic alimony instead. The Georgia Supreme Court held that the trial court lacked authority to modify the divorce decree so as to award former wife permanent periodic alimony, even if the parties' intent that the wife receive a portion of the husband's navy retirement benefits as part of the equitable division of marital property was thwarted by the navy's determination that the benefits in question were actually disability benefits that could not be divided, because the original divorce decree did not award wife alimony, which precluded her from seeking to modify such an award, and wife failed to seek relief from the decree within the three year time period for filing a motion for relief from judgment.
(Georgia Supreme Court, September 13, 2017)