The United States Supreme Court overturned a uniamous decision by the Arizona Supreme Court inHowell v. Howell, a case involving the intersection of family law with military disability pensions. Arizona attorney Keith Berkshire represented John Howell in the Arizona courts and was one of two attorneys who represented Mr. Howell in the United States Supreme Court. He will discuss the case and its path to the highest court in the land.
Background of the case: The divorce decree of petitioner John Howell and respondent Sandra Howell awarded Sandra 50% of John’s future Air Force retirement pay, which she began to receive when John retired the following year. About 13 years later, the Department of Veterans Affairs found that John was partially disabled due to an earlier service-related injury. To receive disability pay, federal law required John to give up an equivalent amount of retirement pay. By his election, John waived about $250 of his retirement pay, which also reduced the value of Sandra’s 50% share. Sandra petitioned the Arizona family court to enforce the original divorce decree and restore the value of her share of John’s total retirement pay. The trial court held that the original divorce decree had given Sandra a vested interest in the prewaiver amount of John’s retirement pay and ordered John to ensure that she receive her full 50% without regard for the disability waiver. The Arizona Supreme Court agreed with the trial court, and held that federal law did not pre-empt the family court’s order.
Keith Berkshire is a certified specialist in Family Law and a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers at the Berkshire Law Office. Keith practices in all areas of family law, including complex litigation. Keith has a significant appellate practice including a multitude of published decisions at the Arizona Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court. Keith also recently won the case Howell v. Howell, 137 S. Ct. 1400 (2017) at the Supreme Court of the United States. He is a member of the Task Force on the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, which will restyle and rewrite the Family Law Rules. Keith has served on the Family Law Practice and Procedure Committee of the State Bar of Arizona, as well as the Civil Rules Committee. Keith was also a member of the Court Procedures Workgroup for the Domestic Relations Committee of the State Legislature as part of the 2013 changes to the custody statutes, and has authored numerous other family law rules and statutes.
*The State Bar of Arizona does not approve or accredit CLE activities for the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education requirement. This activity may qualify for up to 1.0 hours toward your annual CLE requirement for the State Bar of Arizona, including 0 hour(s) of professional responsibility.
When you register, you will be asked to indicate your meal choice: simply type REGULAR or VEGETARIAN. If you require a special meal due to dietary restrictions, please type in your requirements.
Regular: Pomegranate molasses chicken breast served with whipped sweet potatoes and roasted winter root vegetables (dairy and gluten free).
Vegetarian: Butternut squash steak with herbed lentils, feta cheese & pomegranate seeds.
All meals served with baby kale salad topped with goat cheese, dried cranberries, and candied pecans, served with Dijon vinaigrette on the side; warm rolls and butter; and chocolate raspberry tart with chocolate cream filling.
Share the fun! Invite a friend to experience the networking, social and educational opportunities of the Scottsdale Bar Association! Current members may invite a prospective member to attend an upcoming lunch for free. Here are the rules:
1. The guest must be eligible for membership in the Scottsdale Bar Association. See www.scottsdalebar.org, click on Membership Information, then Membership Categories.
2. The guest cannot be a former Scottsdale Bar member.
3. The guest cannot have attended lunchfor free in the past.
4. The member must attend the luncheon with the guest.
5. The member must register him/herself for the luncheon, then contact Paige Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org the guest’s name and email address, and choice of regular or vegetarian meal, so that she can register the guest. Member registration and the request for guest registration must be completed before the registration cut-off on the Friday before the luncheon, at noon.
6. The member can only invite one guest to any luncheon.
7. The member is responsible for following up with his/her guest after the luncheon to invite the guest to join Scottsdale Bar.
8. The Board of Directors reserves the right to limit the number of guests attending each luncheon.