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Court: Does ex- or current wife get money?

Monday - 4/22/2013, 5:28pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court justices are questioning a Virginia law that would override a federal employee's designation of a beneficiary in a federal insurance program.

Warren Hillman made Judy Maretta beneficiary of his Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance policy before their divorce and his re-marriage to Jacqueline Hillman. He never changed his beneficiary designation, and Maretta got the money after his death. The second wife sued, but the Virginia Supreme Court said the first wife gets the money since her name was on the form.

Virginia law revokes a beneficiary designation in favor of the current spouse, but Maretta argued it was pre-empted by federal law saying named beneficiaries get the money.

Justices questioned whether it was Congress' intention to get involved in divorce matters. A decision will come later this summer.


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