Military divorce and military retirement payments

Military divorce and military retirement payments

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Divorce/Separation on Thursday, June 27, 2019.

The Midwest has its fair share of brave men and women who serve our country in the armed forces. These service members put their lives on the line to ensure that we are safe at home. In addition to putting their own safety at risk, though, these men and women oftentimes find themselves dealing with personal matters while away from home. This can, and often does, include divorce.

A military divorce is like any other divorce in many respects, but it also has its own set of rules that must be followed. Child custody matters, for example, are still addressed utilizing the best interests of the child. Property division, on the other hand, can be a more complex affair. One reason is because certain assets, like military pensions, are treated more like property than income. This means that couples that have been married for a significant period of time while one spouse was in the military may have to divide those retirement payments.

Generally speaking, a nonmilitary spouse can only receive direct payments of these benefits if certain requirements are met. Chief amongst those is that there was a 10-year overlap of marriage and military service. So, if a couple was married for 15 years, but one spouse was in the military for only nine of those years, then the nonmilitary spouse would not be entitled to any military pension pay. It is worth noting that even those who don’t qualify for direct payment of those benefits by having 10 overlapping years can still address pension pay in their divorce settlement negotiations and during litigation. It simply then becomes a matter of proving that one is deserving rather than claiming partial ownership as a right.

Members of the military have a lot to think about. When divorce is thrown into the mix, they can quickly find themselves overwhelmed and struggling to prioritize. Fortunately, competent divorce attorneys stand ready to assist those dealing with a military divorce, whether they are in the military or not.

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