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Military Retirement Benefit Division

Posted by attorney Danny Naggiar

Military Retirement Benefit Division is a unique and complex area of the law. Under Federal law, specifically the former spouses protection act, a servicemember's military retirement can be subject to equitable division by a state court. The purpose of this guide is to give a description of the highlights of how to divide the benefit and put the terms into a proper format that will be accepted by the judge and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. I have provided an additional source below which is a link to the Department of Defense Financial Management Regulation.

Points to remember:

  • A judge can award a spouse anywhere from zero to 100% of the benefit from the servicemember to the spouse depending on numerous factors
  • The percentage needs to be specific in the court order. In addition, the language should state that the percentage is coming from the servicemember's disposable monthly retired pay
  • There are several methods of calculation which are clearly enumerated in the DOD financial management regulation
  • remember that disability pay from the veterans administration is a different benefit
  • In order for the spouse to receive the benefit directly from the government, there must be an overlap of 10 years of marriage and 10 years of service. Otherwise, the former spouse must collect directly from the servicemember
  • I recommend using the military benefit division order as shown in the DOD regulation as a template to submit to the court. Remember, this is not a pension division; it is a benefit Division, that does not require a qualified Domestic Relations Order.
  • Read the regulation

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