Owen v. Owen
In Owen v. Owen, 14 Va. App. 623, 419 S.E.2d 267 (1992), the Court addressed the narrow issue of whether the parties may use a property settlement agreement to guarantee a certain level of income by providing for alternative payments to the wife. See id.
The Court answered in the affirmative, noting that "such an arrangement does not offend the federal prohibition against a direct assignment of military disability pay . . . ." Id.
In Owen, the husband agreed to indemnify the wife if the husband took any action to defeat wife's right to share in the pension benefits. See Owen, 14 Va. App. at 625, 419 S.E.2d at 268.
At the time the property settlement agreement was executed, the husband was not receiving any disability pay. See id.
The Court held that the indemnity provision insured that the wife would receive a steady stream of money. See id. at 627, 419 S.E.2d at 269. The indemnity agreement did not specify a source of funds. See id. at 627, 419 S.E.2d at 270.
The Court wrote:
"Federal law does not prevent a husband and wife from entering into an agreement to provide a set level of payments, the amount of which is determined by considering disability benefits as well as retirement benefits." Id. at 628, 419 S.E.2d at 270.