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Cases of Interest: Social Security Benefits
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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FLORIDA: Johnson v. Johnson, 726 So. 2d 393 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1999).
The husband's Social Security replacement plan was a marital asset with no offset for the wife's future Social Security benefits. The husband in this case was a police officer, while the wife worked as a licensed practical nurse.
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KANSAS: In re Marriage of Brane, ___ Kan. App. 2d ___, 908 P.2d 625 (1995).
The antiassignment statute of the Social Security Act does not prohibit the trial court from considering Social Security income when dividing the marital estate in a divorce action.
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MISSOURI: Knapp v. Knapp, 874 S.W.2d 520 (Mo. Ct. App. 1994).
Property division was not inequitable, even though the wife's entire pension was set aside as her nonmarital property, given that she did not acquire Social Security benefits through her employment as a teacher while the husband did acquire Social Security benefits through his employment.
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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 JERSEY: White v. White, 284 N.J. Super. 300, 664 A.2d 1297 (Ch. Div. 1995).
The husband, a federal employee who had not participated in Social Security, should receive an offset for the wife's Social Security when she begins receiving those benefits.
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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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OHIO: Walker v. Walker, 112 Ohio App. 3d 90, 677 N.E.2d 1252 (1996).
Hypothetical Social Security credits were properly deducted from the value of the husband's postal service pension, where equivalent sums had been deducted from his earnings and from his employer and credited to his pension plan in lieu of Social Security contributions.
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OHIO: Smith v. Smith, 91 Ohio App. 3d 248, 632 N.E.2d 555 (1993) (published 1994).
Social Security is not a marital asset but must be considered when equitably allocating pension benefits.
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OHIO: Coats v. Coats, 63 Ohio Misc. 2d 299, 626 N.E.2d 707 (C.P. 1993).
A portion of spouse's civil service pension should not be exempted from the marital estate to the extent that it is in lieu of Social Security benefits, but an offset for the value of the other spouse's Social Security benefits may be equitable in some cases.
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PENNSYLVANIA: McClain v. McClain, ___ Pa. Super. ___, 693 A.2d 1355 (1997).
Hypothetical Social Security contributions should not be deducted from the value of the husband's postal service pension where the wife had no appreciable Social Security benefits of her own.
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RHODE ISLAND: Schaffner v. Schaffner, 713 A.2d 1245 (R.I. 1998).
The husband's federal civil service pension should be valued without deducting the hypothetical amount of Social Security benefits he would receive if he had participated in the Social Security system.
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WASHINGTON: In re Marriage of Zahm, ___ Wash. 2d ___, 978 P.2d 498 (1999).
A spouse's Social Security benefits may not be divided in divorce proceedings but may be considered as part of the spouses' economic circumstances for the purpose of dividing other assets.
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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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