Husband and Wife divorced in Michigan. Wife received 25% of Husband’s military pension. Wife moved to Illinois. She petitioned to register the Michigan Judgment in Illinois. Husband did not appear in the Illinois court. An order was entered in Illinois dividing Husband’s military pension to give Wife her fair share. It modified the original order. It did not just enforce that original order.

Husband filed a Motion to Vacate that order. He alleged that the Illinois circuit court did not have personal jurisdiction over him. Not under the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA).

The circuit court denied his motion. Husband appealed.

He argues that the Illinois court was wrong. The Illinois court had said that Husband had sufficient minimum contacts with the State of Illinois. Therefore, the Illinois court said it had personal jurisdiction over Husband. Husband had registered a vehicle using an Illinois address. His retiree account statements listed an Illinois address.

The appellate court held that the USFSPA applied to this action. The trial court had modified, not just enforced, the Michigan court order. It had ordered the wife to receive 20 percent of the disposable retirement pay. That was different from the 25 percent of the marital portion that was ordered in the judgment. There was definitely a question of whether Illinois had jurisdiction over Husband. In order to modify the original order.

Here, federal law takes precedence over state law. The Illinois long-arm statute conflicts with the provisions of the USFSPA. The USFSPA needs to be satisfied. The case was reversed.

The case went back to the trial court. It had to have a hearing to determine whether the husband maintained a residence or domicile in Illinois. That would be the question for whether Illinois had personal jurisdiction over him.

In re Marriage of Robinson, 2015 IL App (1st) 132345.

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