Will my ex-wife get part of my retirement if I leave the country?

mens divorce lawyer Janet Yu JohnstonQuestion:

As part of my military retirement, my wife is entitled to part of my retirement pay for life. She filed the divorce in Virginia.

If I move to and become a resident of Purto Rico can she get my retirement since military retirement pay upon divorce doesn’t apply there?


Unfortunately, I am not licensed to practice law in Puerto Rico or Virginia so I will be unable to advise you as to the specific laws of those locations.

As you mention, it appears that the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), granting the division of pension rights upon divorce, does not apply to Puerto Rico.

However, if you reside in Virginia, and since the divorce has already been filed in Virginia, you may face some difficulty in trying to move your divorce case to Puerto Rico as there is the question of the jurisdiction of your divorce.

As to whether Puerto Rico could enforce a decree granting your wife part of your retirement, I would recommend that you speak to an attorney licensed to practice there as they would better know the specifics of their laws.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide.


Janet Yu Johnston is an Associate Attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Johnston is licensed to practice law in the states of Indiana and Kentucky. Ms. Johnston received her Bachelor of Arts in both English and Foreign Lanugage/International Studies from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky. She later received her Juris Doctor from University of Louisville, Brandeis School of Law.

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