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Cases of Interest: Federal Preemption
National Legal Research Group, Inc.

ARKANSAS: Gentry v. Gentry, ___ Ark. ___, 938 S.W.2d 231 (1997).
A spouse's agreement to divide future Social Security benefits cannot be enforced because federal law prohibits the transfer or assignment of such benefits.
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CALIFORNIA: In re Marriage of Shelstead, ___ Cal. App. 4th ___, 78 Cal. Rptr. 2d 365 (1998).
A domestic relations order in a dissolution action is not qualified if it provides the nonemployee spouse with the right to name a successor in interest to receive his or her share of undistributed pension benefits upon his or her death because a successor in interest is not an "alternate payee" within the meaning of ERISA.
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FLORIDA: Kelson v. Kelson, 675 So. 2d 1370 (Fla. 1996).
Voluntary Separation Incentive (VSI) benefits paid to a service member upon voluntary separation from the armed forces qualify as military retirement pay under a property settlement agreement that provides for division of military retirement pay, and federal law does not preclude a state court from enforcing a property settlement that is found to encompass VSI benefits.
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NEVADA: Wolff v. Wolff, ___ Nev. ___, 929 P.2d 916 (1996).
Social Security benefits cannot be divided or given any consideration when dividing property upon divorce.
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NEVADA: Boulter v. Boulter, ___ Nev. ___, 930 P.2d 112 (1997).
An agreement to share future Social Security benefits with a spouse is invalid and unenforceable.
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NEW MEXICO: Hennessy v. Duryea, ___ N.M. ___, 955 P.2d 683 (Ct. App. 1998).
Federal law precluded the wife from being awarded a share of the husband's military retirement benefits where the parties' 1973 divorce decree did not divide the benefits or reserve jurisdiction to do so.
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NORTH DAKOTA: Kluck v. Kluck, 561 N.W.2d 263 (N.D. 1997).
Social Security benefits paid to the wife could not be classified as marital property in view of the Social Security Act's antialienation provision.
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OKLAHOMA: Gray v. Gray, 922 P.2d 615 (Okla. 1996).
Although veterans' disability benefits are the separate property of the veteran, property purchased with those funds during marriage is jointly acquired property divisible upon divorce.
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OKLAHOMA: Pavatt v. Pavatt, 920 P.2d 1074 (Okla. Ct. App. 1996).
The husband's Special Separation Benefit (SSB) was a retirement plan asset that must be divided with the wife pursuant to the parties' divorce decree.
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WASHINGTON: In re Marriage of Zahm, ___ Wash. App. ___, 955 P.2d 412 (1998).
A spouse's Social Security benefits are the separate property of that spouse, but at least when such benefits are currently being received they may be considered as a factor for the purpose of dividing property or awarding maintenance.
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