If there is one thing that can make a military service member nervous it is the thought of losing part of his or her retired pay in a divorce settlement. It doesn’t matter if one served on the front lines in Afghanistan or Iraq, or as an officer at the U.S. Air Force Academy, military personnel depend heavily on their retirement benefits as a reward for their years of sacrifice to our country. However, it is important to note that many states’ divorce laws might require the equitable distribution of all marital assets; service members included. It’s no surprise that questions about military pay are the first to come up when a service member talks to a divorce lawyer.
When marital vows break down, most military people are thinking about their immediate needs; a lawyer, separate checking accounts, a property settlement and a fair distribution of assets. Unless tax time is just around the corner, chances are that most couples aren't thinking about the impact of divorce on their taxes. But divorce may have a serious effect on how you file your tax returns, and it might be something worth discussing well in advance of April 15th.
If there’s one thing that military service members worry about, it’s the possibility of losing a sizable portion of their retired pay in a divorce settlement. Retired pay in the military is different than a 401K or pension in the civilian world and it is treated differently in a divorce situation, but you may need the help of a Colorado Springs military divorce attorney to understand it.
If there is one thing that makes a military service member nervous, it is the prospect of losing part of his or her retirement in a divorce settlement. Whether on the front lines in Iraq or Afghanistan, training soldiers at U.S. Air Force Academy or working behind the scenes elsewhere, military personnel rely on their retirement benefits as a reward for their many years of hard work. However, since Colorado military divorce laws call for the equitable distribution of marital assets, service members often worry about its impact on their retirement pay.
Whether you are still on active duty or currently in retirement, getting divorced can seriously impact how much of your military retirement benefits you will get to keep. But what many people don’t realize is that there are specific rules in place to handle military retirement in a divorce, and those rules are the same no matter which state you live in.
Each state must abide by the same formulas, set forth by the Department of Defense relating to the calculation of military retired pay in divorce, so the only wild card in these cases is the percentage of a service member’s retirement that each party will receive. There are a number of factors that go into this decision, but the most important ones are the length of the marriage, the relative income of the non-military ex-spouse and the health of the parties. Learning about how these factors will impact a court’s decision is key to keeping your fair share of military retirement in a divorce, and for this you will need an experienced military divorce attorney.
Military divorce attorneys in Colorado Springs have found that most of the litigation that takes place in their cases revolves around the division of military retirement in divorce. Already far more complicated than traditional divorce, military divorce is regulated by both state and federal court systems, so it is highly recommended that an experienced military divorce lawyer is involved from the very beginning.
After several divorce cases resulted in military retirement pay being awarded to an ex-spouse as part of a “community property” ruling, a subsequent case reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The resulting decision was that military retirement benefits were not yet covered by federal laws and could not legally be treated as joint property.
Getting a divorce is painful enough, but if you or your spouse (or both) are members of the military, it can be even more complex. If you are considering a Colorado military divorce and you or your spouse have established residence in Colorado, consider consulting with a Colorado Springs military divorce attorney.