Treatment of Military Pensions on Divorce

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

If you are involved in a military divorce then you should learn what the treatment of military pensions on divorce is. Each state is different and some do not have any special laws or stipulations regarding military personnel involved in a divorce, but the federal government does.

If you are involved in a military divorce you should seek counsel with an attorney that understands the laws governing military personnel, if you are the person in the military, the spouse of a military service person, or if either of you are retired from the military.

First, under federal law your spouse may receive a percentage of your disposable retired pay. As an example of what these means let’s say your retired pay would have been $1500 per month, but $200 of that makes up for disability pay and $50 would pay the Survivor Benefit premium. Therefore, after the $250 is taken out you would be left with $1250, this is the amount the court can use to calculate and use as martial property.

Some states do treat all pensions and retirement plans that were acquired by either spouse during a marriage as marital property. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will are entitled to half. The court will normally divide the marital property between you and your spouse as what they believe is fair.

Some of the factors that the courts may consider include:

Who earned what during the marriage including the housekeeping and childcare?

How long you were married

Both spouse’s age and health

What the reasons are for the divorce

Any bills that have accumulated during the marriage

Any anything else the court considers important for the division of marital property.

If the only thing that of value in your marriage is the retired pay, the court still may not give half. The formula used in most courts for division of the retired pay is the number of years married, divided by the number of years the military person served times 50 percent of the retired pay amount.

The court cannot order anyone to retire early from the service. The longer the person is in the military the smaller amount the spouse will receive and the spouse can not collect from the retired pay until the military personnel does retire.

The best way to learn how your state views military pensions is to speak with an attorney that understands the federal and state laws governing military divorce proceedings. Be sure that you also fully understand what benefits are available if your spouse was or is in the military.

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