Divorce often creates heavy stress for families of all kinds. On top of worries over child custody, living arrangements and property division, many spouses wonder whether they will walk away from a divorce with all their earned benefits intact.
It is normal, especially for those serving, to be concerned about how their military benefits will be divided once a divorce is in place, especially retirement benefits. After all, uniformed service members have dutifully earned these perks through their dedication to the country. And many spouses have supported them, often for decades.
What garnishments of military retired pay may include
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) has made it so that spouses or former spouses of military members may have rights to retired military pay. For the spouse to receive these benefits, there must be a court order included in the divorce decree that dictates the distribution of the retirement pay.
That is not the only thing a uniformed service member may lose in a divorce decree, however. In addition to retired pay for the ex-spouse, the federal government may order the garnishment of retired pay for both child support and alimony if the paying service member does not make required payments.
What garnishments of military retired pay may not include
Debts happen. More than child support or alimony, uniformed service members may owe commercial debts such as business mortgages, loans and bonds. However, retired members may not have their retired pay garnished for such commercial debts.
Only that which pertains to a divorce and the support of family may be subject to garnishment for military retired pay.