Retired Pay & Military Divorce
Are you seeking a military divorce in Colorado?
Like any divorce,
military divorce involves asset and debt division. Technically, the legal procedures surrounding
military divorce are the same as a regular divorce. However, military
personnel usually have additional financial assets to divide during the
divorce process – such as retired pay. Military active duty retired
pay is one of the most beneficial retirement plans offered in the United
States. Retirement benefits begin the day you retire; no matter how old
you are. Some military personnel begin collecting benefits when they are
only 37 years old. Additionally, your pension check can adjust with the
growing cost of living every year.
Divorce and Retired Pay
The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) allows the
state to treat military disposable retired pay as marital property. Disposable
retired pay includes the service member's retired pay, minus deductions.
Through the USFSPA, local courts have the freedom to divide disposable
retired pay like they would a civilian pension plan. The USFSPA does not
automatically give ex-spouses a portion of the service member's retired
pay; instead, it allows the former spouse to seek a percentage of the
service member's retired pay during the divorce process.
Former Spouses and Survivor Benefit Plans
The USFSPA also allows former spouses the opportunity to receive money
from a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) too. Through an SBP, retired service
members can continue to provide income for a beneficiary after their death.
However, continued enrollment is not automatic for former spouses. If
a service member elected SBP upon his/her retirement, the SBP will be
automatically terminated in the event of a divorce. However, the service
member can choose to honor his/her previous agreement and elect a former
spouse for benefits.
In order to qualify for benefits as a formers spouse, the spouse must be
able to demonstrate that the service member served in the U.S. military
for at least 20 years. Additionally, the marriage must have lasted for
20 years. If the marriage and time of service overlapped for less than
20 years, the former spouse will not qualify for continuing benefits.
Individuals who meet these requirements are called "20/20/20"
formers spouses. 20/20/20 former spouses may be entitled to exchange and
health care benefits.
Under certain circumstances, spouses who do not meet these full requirements
may be able to collect military medical benefits. If the service member's
time of service and the marriage only overlapped by 15 years, the former
spouse may be able to collect medical benefits – but only for one
year following the divorce proceedings. After this point, the former spouse
can purchase a health policy with the DOD, but will not be given benefits for free.
Retired Pay, Divorce, and Eligibility
Not all former spouses are eligible to receive direct payments from their
military service member's retired pay. In order to divide retired
pay as marital property, the marriage must have lasted more than 10 years.
Additionally, the service member and former spouse must have been married
for at least ten years while the service member performed credible service
for the military. Unlike retired pay, the former spouse can receive court-order
spousal support and child support if the marriage lasted for less than 10 years.
Colorado Springs Military Divorce Lawyer
Contact Clawson & Clawson, LLP if you're facing a military divorce in Colorado Springs or the surrounding
area. Divorce is never easy – especially if it involves complicated
asset division. Our team of lawyers can help you understand your legal
rights and options during a military divorce. To see what Clawson &
Clawson, LLP can of for you, call our office today and schedule a case
consultation. With more than 120 combined years of experience, our firm
has the skill to obtain the case results you need.