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Military pensions are up for grabs during a divorce

A military divorce has many factors. When you decide to get a divorce and are in the military, you need to decide on how you want to move forward. Do you want to focus on getting or avoiding paying spousal support? Do you want to get the custody arrangement you prefer? Maybe you're most concerned with the pension. Whatever the situation, you need to develop a plan for your negotiations.

Money is normally a major issue in divorce. Depending on the length of your marriage, your spouse may receive a portion of your military pension. When service members retire after at least 20 years of active service, they are entitled to a retirement pension. Retirement pensions are marital property, so they can be divided in divorce.

How long must you be married to qualify for a portion of your spouse's pension?

If a marriage lasts 10 years and overlaps with 10 years of service, it's normal to award half the pension to each spouse. It is possible to seek the pension regardless of the time the marriage has lasted, though. If the court decides to award part of the pension to an ex-spouse who wasn't married for 10 years that overlap with service, then the military member must make the payments to the spouse on his or her own. Comparatively, those who stayed married for 10 years have the pension split at the governmental level, so the military member doesn't have the responsibility of making the payments.

It's important to discuss when you want to claim the military retirement benefits before the divorce concludes. The spouse receiving a share of the benefits won't get them until the military spouse decides to draw the benefits. This could leave the ex-spouse open to never receiving them if the military member chooses to avoid drawing benefits, so a deadline is key.

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