A new case from Division III, In Re Marriage of Buchanan, awarded military benefits to the former spouse and reimbursement for health insurance costs that could have been covered by the military. It also awarded attorney’s fees based on intransigence.
The parties were married for twenty years, during which time the husband accrued medical and retirement benefits from the military. The decree of dissolution awarded the wife half the community interest in the husband’s military retirement.
About three years after the Husband retired, the now ex-wife learned that the now ex-husband was receiving the benefits. Litigation ensued. The trial court awarded the ex-wife the benefits and attorney’s fees.
Benefits included an annuity, payable upon the Husband’s death, and health insurance. To ensure that the ex-wife got the benefits, the trial court ordered the ex-husband to remove his current wife as the designated survivor and replace her with the ex-wife.
The trial court also ordered the ex-husband to reimburse the ex-wife the insurance premiums she paid during the three years she should have been insured by the military.
Finally, the trial court ordered the father to pay attorney’s fees based on intransigence – he should have notified the ex-wife as soon as he began receiving the benefits.
The appellate court affirmed.