884 P.2d 210 (Ariz.App. Div. 2 1994), 2 CA-CV 93-0203, In re Marriage of Crawford

Docket Nº:2 CA-CV 93-0203.
Citation:884 P.2d 210, 180 Ariz. 324
Opinion Judge:[10] Espinosa
Party Name:In re the MARRIAGE OF Michael T. CRAWFORD, Petitioner/Appellant, and Leslie Joanne Crawford, Respondent/Appellee.
Attorney:[7] Curtis & Cunningham, by Marjorie Fisher Cunningham, Tucson, Attorneys for Petitioner/Appellant. [8] Law Offices of Victoria Ann King, P.C., by Victoria Ann King, Tucson, Attorney for Respondent/Appellee.
Case Date:April 29, 1994
Court:Court of Appeals of Arizona
 
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Page 210

884 P.2d 210 (Ariz.App. Div. 2 1994)

180 Ariz. 324

In re the MARRIAGE OF Michael T. CRAWFORD, Petitioner/Appellant, and

Leslie Joanne Crawford, Respondent/Appellee.

No. 2 CA-CV 93-0203.

Court of Appeals of Arizona, Second Division, Department B

April 29, 1994

As Corrected June 3, 1994. Review Denied Nov. 29, 1994.

Page 211

[180 Ariz. 325] Curtis & Cunningham by Marjorie Fisher Cunningham, Tucson, for petitioner/appellant.

Law Offices of Victoria Ann King, P.C. by Victoria Ann King, Tucson, for respondent/appellee.

OPINION

ESPINOSA, Presiding Judge.

Petitioner/appellant Michael T. Crawford appeals from the trial court's order awarding respondent/appellee Leslie Joanne Crawford (now known as Leslie Joanne Valdez) a portion of the Special Separation Benefits (SSB) Michael received for voluntarily separating from the Air Force. Michael argues that the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction in making the award, that the injunction it issued restraining him from disposing of the SSB funds was unenforceable, and that the court abused its discretion in imposing a lien on his real property in order to secure the judgment. We affirm.

Factual and Procedural Background

The parties' 1989 dissolution decree awarded Leslie 32 1/2 percent of Michael's military retirement benefits. At the time, Michael was on active duty with the United States Air Force. In October 1992, after 19 years and three months' service, Michael voluntarily left the Air Force pursuant to a "reduction in force" program and elected to receive a lump-sum SSB payment based upon his years of service, in lieu of eligibility to re-enlist or receive retirement and other benefits. 1 Leslie subsequently filed a petition for

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[180 Ariz. 326] an order to show cause, seeking 32 1/2 percent of the SSB payment. Michael moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Pending a hearing on October 21, the trial court enjoined Michael "from disposing of, or in any other way, alienating 32 1/2 percent of the gross of any funds he receives from the United States Government as a result of his separation or termination of service with the United States Air Force." The hearing was continued to November 18, 1992, but was subsequently vacated. Michael thereafter used the SSB payment to purchase a home.

No further action was taken until April 1993 when Leslie filed an amended order to show cause petition. After a hearing, the trial court found that "[w]hether it be said that the funds ... represented the proceeds from the sale of [Michael's] retirement benefits, or was a payment in lieu of retirement benefits, or was 'Petitioner's military retirement benefits' within the meaning of paragraph F of the Decree of Dissolution ..., [Leslie] is entitled to her proportionate part pursuant to the decree." The court ordered judgment in favor of Leslie in the amount of $14,391, 2 and granted her a lien on Michael's residence to secure payment of the judgment.

Divisibility of the SSB Payment

On appeal, Michael first contends that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to award any portion of his SSB to Leslie as a matter of federal preemption and congressional intent, citing McCarty v. McCarty, 453 U.S. 210, 101 S.Ct. 2728, 69 L.Ed.2d 589...

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