Financial Division During Military Divorces

By Tara N. Brewer

Special to

One of the main anxieties during a military divorce is how the financial benefits are divided.

Military pensions require no minimum age and increase with the cost-of-living for the next 40 years, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

The military doesn’t provide direct retirement payments to the ex-spouse unless 10 years of marriage overlapped with 10 years of service. If this criterion isn’t met, the military ex-spouse makes the decision on whether to share their pension.

Cordell & Cordell Divorce Lawyer Brittany Brown addressed the division of military retirement. She stated that the spouse is entitled half of the marital portion of the retirement account. The marital portion does not include money accrued before or after the marriage.

If child support is deducted from the pension, the maximum deduction amount is 65% of the disposable retirement pay.

Pension Distribution discloses three methods in which pension payments are distributed.

  • Net Present Value for upfront buyouts.
  • Deferred Distribution for payments deferred until the military spouse retires.
  • Reserve Jurisdiction for payments determined at the time of retirement.

Additionally, in the event of the military ex-spouse’s death, the ex-spouse does not remain a beneficiary of the military ex-spouse’s Survivor Benefit Plan after divorce. This must be addressed in a divorce settlement.

VA Disability Benefits

VA disability benefits are prevented from being characterized as community property. Community property is defined as funds available for division in a divorce. If a military service member is eligible for both retirement and disability, only the retired pay is considered community property.

She Cheated

Cordell & Cordell Divorce Attorney Erin Brockhoff discussed how military divorce involving marital misconduct of the non-military spouse. If the case falls in a no-fault state, then the misconduct would not impact the court’s decision to divide a military retirement.

If you are facing a military divorce, please contact Cordell & Cordell to discuss your rights. Active duty military members receive a 10% discount off standard attorney fees, though restrictions may apply.

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