In Megee v Carmine, ___ Mich App ___ (#292207, 11/16/2010) the Court of Appeals held that a military spouse remains financially responsible to compensate his/her former spouse in an amount equal to the share of retirement pay ordered to be distributed to the former spouse as part of a divorce judgment’s property division, notwithstanding the military spouse making a unilateral and voluntary postjudgment election to waive the retirement pay in favor of disability benefits contrary to the terms of the divorce judgment.
Pursuant to a judgment of divorce, defendant was awarded 50 percent of plaintiff’s Navy disposable retirement pay as part of the property division, and the judgment incorporated a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to enforce that provision. The QDRO acknowledged the 50-percent division of plaintiff’s disposable retirement pay, also referred to therein as his pension, and it prevented plaintiff from making another benefit election “that would otherwise reduce the monthly pension allotment without the written consent of defendant.
The trial court does not have authority to compel payment from a military disability compensation fund. Compensation to be paid the former spouse as his or her share of the property division in lieu of the waived retirement pay can come from any source the military spouse chooses, but it must be paid to avoid contempt of court.