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Order Dividing Retirement Benefit Modifiable to Calculate Proper Marital Share

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Crawley  v. Crawley, Va. App (2021)


Va. Rule 1:1 provides that “all final judgments, orders, and decrees . . . remain under the control of the trial court and may be modified, vacated, or suspended for twenty-one days after the date of entry, and no longer.” However, there is a statutory exception to the rule which grants a trial court continuing authority to make any additional orders necessary to effectuate and enforce any order entered pursuant to the equitable distribution of retirement funds by modifying any order intended to affect or divide any pension or retirement benefits and to revise or conform its terms so as to effectuate the expressed intent of the original order.


In practice the Appeals Court determined that, an order modifying the amount or timing of payments exceeded the Courts statutory authority but an order revising the terms to calculate the correct marital share of the husband’s retirement benefits per the coverture fraction (Time during the marriage that the spouse was employed by the company providing the benefit divided by the total time of the spouse’s employment with that company) was proper.

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