DeAnna S. Dotson and Robert L. Dotson - Page 9

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          “property”, in holding that an educational degree was not                   
          “property” subject to division in a divorce proceeding).  But cf.           
          Pfister v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2002-198, affd. 359 F.3d 352            
          (4th Cir. 2004); Witcher v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2002-292,              
          wherein the relevant State statutes (of Virginia and                        
          Pennsylvania, respectively) specifically provided that military             
          pension benefits qualified as marital property subject to                   
          equitable division.                                                         
               The mere fact that DFAS made the military retirement                   
          payments directly to petitioner, in amounts specified by the                
          divorce court decree, does not mean that petitioner had any                 
          ownership interest in the payments.  Pursuant to the Uniformed              
          Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), 10 U.S.C. sec.            
          1408 (1982), DFAS is generally required to make direct payments             
          of military retired pay to a former spouse as specified in a                
          court order.4  Nothing in the USFSPA, however, creates a property           
          interest where none otherwise exists under applicable State law.            

               4 Specifically, 10 U.S.C. sec. 1408(d)(1) provides:                    
                    After effective service on the Secretary concerned                
               of a court order providing for the payment of child                    
               support or alimony or, with respect to a division of                   
               property, specifically providing for the payment of an                 
               amount of the disposable retired pay from a member to                  
               the spouse or a former spouse of the member, the                       
               Secretary shall make payments * * * from the disposable                
               retired pay of the member to the spouse or former                      
               spouse * * * as directed by court order * * *                          

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