Military members get many benefits as part of serving the country. However, dividing those benefits can get complicated amid a divorce, especially when it comes to their pensions.
For those in the military or who have spouses in the military, they may have questions about how their pension could get split once their separation gets finalized.
However, there is no specific formula that determines how these assets get dispersed. That’s because some states treat marital property differently than others.
Does marriage length play a role in pension division?
Contrary to popular belief, military pensions can still get split, even if the marriage was short. A court can often award the non-military spouse a specific portion of the pension, even if the marriage lasted less than one year.
But for the Department of Defense to make direct payments, spouses typically have to be married to a service member for at least a decade. On top of that, the marriage usually must overlap a period of military service time.
How are direct payments affected by alimony and child support?
While every couple’s situation is different, direct payments typically can’t be made over 50% or 65% if alimony or child support are paid in addition to the pension payments. However, disability pay does not affect pension payments, but it could get garnished for either alimony or child support.
What factors determine a court’s jurisdiction over retirement pay?
Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, courts must have jurisdiction over the following to be allowed to divide a service member’s retirement pay:
- Their permanent residence, not where they are stationed.
- Their legal domicile.
- Their consent to the jurisdiction of the court.
Moving through the process can be complicated
Service members and their families know that military divorce can be much more complicated. Because of this, it can make handling the legal complexities of the separation much more daunting. Fortunately, military members and their families have resources available to help them.