Mayer v. Mayer, January 14, 2014

A party may still petition for continued child support after a child turns 19 or receives a high school diploma, if the child is severely mentally or physically disabled, and support is still being paid.  Here, daughter had completed high school but father did not know it, and he was still paying child support when the mother filed her petition. A trial court cannot award attorney fees without a factual predicate.

COMMENT: The facts are narrow, limiting the value of this opinion as precedent.  It is unlikely that many people paying child support would not know that their child graduated from high school or turned 19, and would still be paying child support after one of those events — at the moment when the child support recipient filed to extend a child support order.  Most parents know when their child graduates from high school or turns 19.

Griffin v. Griffin, January 28, 2014

When a retirement plan is not covered by ERISA, [because it is exempted by 29 U.S.C. § 1055 (C)], the retirement benefits had been assigned in a property settlement agreement (PSA) incorporated into a final judgment, the plan participant changed the beneficiary to his new wife in violation of the PSA and final judgment, and the plan participant died; a surviving spouse may still obtain a QDRO ordering plan payments to her children.

      J. Huff issued a 12-paged dissent asserting that the plan was covered by ERISA.  Therefore, the dissent argued, federal law preempted state court jurisdiction, and the circuit court had correctly refused to enter a QDRO.