When you are going through a divorce from a military service member, it can be more complicated than a civilian divorce. One particular aspect of the process that can complicate matters is your spouse's military pension. If you are facing divorce from a military service member, here is what you need to know.
Are You Guaranteed Part of Your Spouse's Pension?
In a military divorce, the pension is viewed much like other assets that need to be divided by you and your spouse. If you would normally be entitled to receive part of your spouse's retirement benefits, you more than likely can take part of the military benefits. However, there is a catch to how you can get the funds you are entitled to.
All matters regarding the division of the pension but be decided before the divorce is final. If you do not have an agreement in place with your spouse regarding the pension when the final decree is issued, you could be out of luck.
What Can You Do to Get Your Share of the Pension?
Your family attorney needs to get a court order that states how the pension needs to be divided. If your spouse is willing, you can negotiate how much you should receive and create a written agreement. Your attorneys can provide the written agreement to the court and it can become part of the final divorce decree.
If your spouse is unwilling to negotiate with you regarding the division of the pension, your attorney can help you calculate how much you should receive. Your attorney can ask the court to issue orders so that you can receive information needed to calculate your share, such as documents from the military detailing how much the pension is worth.
The judge has the final say on the division of the assets. Once your attorney presents the argument for how much you are entitled to, the judge will make a determination.
What If Your Spouse Refuses to Pay?
If you think that your spouse will not make the payments from the pension, you need to ask the Defense Finance and Accounting Serviced, or DFAS, to garnish the payments and send your share directly to you. The DFAS is responsible for managing the pay of service members. In order to have the payments sent to you, your attorney needs to send the court order to the DFAS.
Since the division of military pensions can be complex, it is best to work with an attorney. Even if you and your spouse are working together in an amicable fashion to end the marriage, you should still consult with an attorney to ensure the division is fair.
For more information on family law, contact a professional like Lois Iannone Attorney at Law.