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Dividing your pension in a military divorce

All military service members who have been active for 20 years or more can receive a military pension when they retire. That pension will compensate them for life. Since Congress passed Uniformed Service Members Protection Act in 1982, family law courts will treat military pensions as marital property in a divorce. As such, they can be divided between the military spouse and the non-military spouse according to asset division laws.

According to the USFSPA, spouses who were married to a military service member for at least 10 years, while the service member was in the military, can receive half of their spouse's pension. That said, the division of a military pension is negotiable, as are many issues during a divorce. Sometimes the non-military spouse will request half the pension in cases where they were not married for the full 10 years. In other situations, the military spouse will ask to forfeit less than half of his or her pension, even if the marriage was longer than 10 years.

The decision is largely up to individual state courts and how state laws treat asset division. For example, the USFSPA allows state courts to demand that the military finance center take up to 50 percent of the retirement pension and forward it directly to the non-military spouse. However, state courts can also award an additional amount to be paid to the non-military spouse separately out of the military member's personal bank account.

In order to better understand your asset division rights as non-service member or service member who is going through a military divorce in Florida, it's wise to discuss your situation with a Florida family law attorney. When seeking out an attorney, be sure to find a lawyer with military divorce experience in Florida.

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Mercedes R. Wechsler, P.A.
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