Are changes necessary to pension payouts in military divorces?

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Military Family Law on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

Like is the case with any Missouri divorce, there are two sides to every military divorce. While in some cases couples were married for more than 20 years before getting a divorce, in other cases spouses got married early and divorced early. Considering both of these marital situations are very different, some want to see changes made to the ways in which military pensions are split up among ex-spouses.

The 1982 Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act gives states the ability to treat non-disability military retirement pay as any other type of property. This means it can be split with an ex as part of a divorce settlement.

However, while in some cases, splitting the military pension may seem like the fair and right thing to do, in other cases some are wondering if exes should be able to request half a pension if the marriage only lasted for a couple of years.

When the law was passed, the idea was that while a military member makes huge sacrifices, especially during deployments, so do their spouses who frequently have to move and raise children by themselves. These responsibilities can make obtaining skills for a full time job rather difficult.

However, since there is no requirement in terms of length of a marriage or what the non-military spouse was doing during the marriage, some are finding themselves having to give over half their pension to an ex-spouse who is already remarried or working at a high-level career. This can be on top of the fact that the two were only married for a very short time before the divorce.

But what do you think? Should ex-spouses be able to receive military pension benefits, even if they get remarried or have better paying jobs? Should there be stipulations? Does the law have to be updated to fit with modern times?

Source: Newsmax, “Military Divorcees Aim to End Lifetime Alimony Rules,” David Yonkman, Feb. 18, 2013

  • As one can tell from reading this post, there are aspects of a military divorce that are different from a civilian divorce. To learn more, visit our St. Louis military divorce page.

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