Fathers and Families has been at the forefront of the battle to protect disabled parents from family court financial abuses. Last year we worked to support an effort led by Mark Beres of the American Retirees Association and the ULSG to pass HB 2348 to address this issue in Arizona.
Beres recently reported on Merrill v. Merrill, a case which tested the new law. He writes:
Among other things, HB 2348 put a stop to the practice of indemnification, whereby courts would force a divorcing veteran to indemnify his or her former spouse of realizing any loss from the veteran later becoming wounded. It was truly an unethical practice that amounted to getting an unsuspecting veteran to waive all federal protections to their disability…
In a current court opinion (Merrill v.Merrill), ARS 25-318.01 (one of the statutes HB 2348 enacted) was applied and protected a 100%-disabled veteran from having his disability compensation taken from him.
In this case, the veteran’s disability had increased in severity to the point where he was no longer employable. The veteran’s former spouse took him to court, petitioning the judge to indemnify her — apportioning to herself the only source of support the wounded soldier had — his disability. ARS 25-318.01 is cited by the court as prohibiting the judge from doing so. Thus, the wounded soldier was protected.
The opinion in the case can be seen here.