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In a divorce with property is the military retirement an asset to be split in our settlement or an alimony issue?

Jacksonville, FL |

We are discussing a divorce and want to be civil and uncontested. He is ready to retire after more than 25 years service. I am aware that I am qualified for a share of teh retirement. So my question is, does the retirment bennifit get listed as an asset in our finanicla affidavits? and when preparing a settlement agreement is it listed there also? or list it as an alimony papyment?

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Attorney answers 4


Military retirement benefits are considered marital assets, and as such should be listed as such on one's financial affidavit. This is not alimony. However, keep in mind that in determining whether a person is entitled to alimony, and if so how much, the Court will consider one's portion of the military retirement as income.

The answers given by this attorney are for educational and information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice, nor are they intended to create attorney/client relationship. You should seek legal counsel in your area to get legal advice concerning your particular circumstances.


Mr. Wilkerson is exactly correct. Moreover, DO NOT do this without a lawyer experienced in military divorces. (Perhas you should schedule an appointment with Mr. Wilkerson.) There are many trips and traps involved in splitting military retirements, and, if your paperwork is not done correctly, DFAS will not make the proper payments to you or, more likely, won't pay you at all, as DFAS has the power to ignore divorce orders if they aren't done correctly.

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Both of my colleagues are correct that military pensions should be listed as assets on your financial affidavit, not as alimony.

A military pension is often the most valuable asset in the marriage. When determining your share of your Husband's military pension, you need to consider the length of the marriage and length of service while married and whether the pension will be distributed in a fixed dollar amount each month or as a percentage of the payment. There are also additional benefits, besides a payment, that may accrue after the marriage/military service reaches certain milestones of time.

As Mr. Rose correctly points out, there are numerous traps associated with dividing military pensions that cannot easily be discussed in the context of this forum. In fact, military pension division is so specialized, many divorce attorneys will allow subject matter experts, who do nothing but military pension divisions, handle the technical part of the pension division under the attorney's supervision, while assisting clients through the other parts of divorce process.

This answer is to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. No attorney/client relationship is formed unless you and I enter into a written fee agreement.


Be forewarned- oldest trick in the book is to convince a spouse that the lawyers will just be an unnecessary expense in a military divorce--many a spouse has found out after the fact that what they THOUGHT was fair and equitable wasn't. Have an experienced military attorney at least review your divorce documents, money spent now might save you tens of thousands downstream.

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