What happens with my military pension if my wife can not find me to serve me the divorce papers.

Asked over 1 year ago - Colorado Springs, CO

I am leaving for the UK soon and will be traveling abroad for the next couple of years. I have been trying to get a divorce for 2 years but my wife is contesting everything. I am ready to move on with life. If she attempts to serve me and I'm not here what will happen with my military pension when the divorce moves forward? She is also retired military so my understanding of it is she gets 1/2 the difference (mine is the higher pension). She is in GA and I am in CO. I am not worried about the judge ruling on property in GA, she can have all of it, I just don't want to find out that she got more than her fair share of my pension. Also, I was told that the judge will not rule on monetary issues like my pension and possible alimony if I am not present, is this true? Thank you.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Scott Allen Scholl

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Contrary to popular belief, federal law does not control the division of military retirement benefits in a divorce. Federal law merely allows the states to divide military retirement as they would other retirement benefits.

    Different states have different laws, so you will want to check with someone who practices in any jurisdiction your wife is likely to file (she may have a choice of different states) who is familiar with military divorce issues.

    If you are still in the military, you can invoke the Servicemember's Civil Relief Act in order to have a stay in the proceedings until you are able to appear and defend.

    As stated, different states have different laws, but if the divorce was in Arkansas the advice you were given would be very bad advice -- especially if you are not in the service any longer because she can serve you by publishing a warning order in the newspaper if she is unable to locate you. Then, if you do not file an answer she can get a judgment by default - and the Court CAN divide property, assign debt liabilities and order support even if you do not appear and defend.

    This response is for information purposes only, it does not create any attorney-client relationship.... more
  2. Rixon Charles Rafter III

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you want to control matters and protect your retirement, hire a diviorce attorney and close the matter out. After two years if even one of you was serious you would already be divorced. You spending two years traveling will not protect your assets.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice before the state and... more
  3. David Littman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Military families often find themselves in a world of confusion because sometimes it is not possible to establish personal jurisdiction to proceed with the property division issues in a divorce. It is always possible to obtain a divorce, sometimes by publication, but in Colorado, publication does not confer personal jurisdiction to divide marital assets such as a military pension. You would be well advised to consult with an attorney who understands military pensions. There are several very capable family law attorneys in Colorado Springs who can assist you.

  4. John Daniel Hafemann

    Contributor Level 12

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Leaving the country to avoid a court date is terrible advice. Find an attorney that specializes in GA divorce law and finalize your divorce before you leave for Europe.

Related Topics

Divorce

Divorce is the process of formally ending a marriage. Divorces may be jointly agreed upon, resolved by negotiation, or decided in court.

Dividing a Pension in a Divorce

If one party in a divorce has a pension, it may be subject to division, depending on how much value it has accrued during the marriage.

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