Keeping Your Family Strong--Even Through Divorce

3 Steps To Receiving Part Of A Spouse's Military Pension After Divorce

by Kristen Wright

There are many issues to cover in a divorce involving military personnel, including whether or not the civilian spouse is entitled to part of the military pension. If you are the civilian spouse, you want to ensure that the pension is considered when determining the division of assets and debts in the marriage. Here are some steps you need to take to guarantee you receive your share of the pension.

Talk to Your Spouse

Once the divorce is final, the court might refuse to consider any issues that were not bought up during the proceedings. To ensure that the divorce decree takes into account your spouse's military pension, you need to start by asking your spouse about its value. If your spouse is unwilling to provide you with any information about the pension, your attorney can start legal action to get the information.

After you find out the value of the pension, you can include it in your negotiations with your spouse. Your attorney can help determine what is a fair amount for you to receive.

Locate the Correct Family Court

Depending on your spouse's location, locating the court that has jurisdiction over your divorce can sometimes be difficult. If your spouse has moved recently or will move during the proceedings, it is possible that the court you have to use might change.

However, if your spouse is willing to agree on which court should be used, you can avoid a costly battle over jurisdiction. If your spouse is not willing to agree on the court with you, your attorney might be able to file a motion to select a court.

Obtain a Judgment

Even if you and your spouse agree to split the pension, it is important that you get an actual court order documenting the agreement. In the event that your spouse changes his or her mind in the future, you can ask the court to enforce the judgment.

When negotiating with your spouse for your share of the pension, it is important to understand how the funds are disbursed. A military pension cannot be distributed until at least 20 years have been served. Your spouse could also receive his or her pension if he or she has met the terms of service, such as serving a certain number of years.

If your spouse has not yet met the requirements to receive his or her pension now, you can still require that the agreed upon money be given to you whenever the pension is paid out.

Consult with an attorney experienced in military divorces, such as those at the Law Offices of Peter Napolitano & Wayne Hibbeler, to learn what else you can do to ensure that you receive your share of the pension.