Military life puts an astonishing amount of stress upon all members of the family. It’s not surprising that some marriages break down. Military regulations concerning support, division of property and pensions can be complex, and lack of understanding of these regulations can have long-lasting consequences.
What Is the Most Important Issue?
Each situation is unique, but it’s easier to figure out the right way to proceed when the most important issue is identified. Is the issue support, kids, the pension, or something else? Each branch of the military has different regulations that will govern some aspects of the divorce. Before a divorcing spouse signs anything, they should learn about their rights and obligations by discussing the situation with a military divorce attorney in Tacoma WA
In many instances, the non-military spouse may have put off their own education and have remained unemployed or under-employed because of frequent moves and family needs. The military recognizes this circumstance, but the amount of support the spouse is entitled to is handled differently by each branch of the military. In some situations, the spouse may not be entitled to support at all. While waiting for a divorce to become final, a temporary court order can cover how bills such as rent and car payments are to be handled.
Dividing the Pension
After 20 years of service, members of the military are entitled to receive a pension for the remainder of their lives. In a military divorce, the pension is considered to be marital property and subject to division in a divorce. The common perception is that after 10 years of marriage, the pension will be divided 50/50. However, the division of the pension is actually negotiable.
The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)
A lawyer who isn’t familiar with military divorces could be unaware of the SBP or not know what is required to put it into effect. The SBP is an annuity that will guarantee 55% of the base pension amount to the surviving non-military spouse for their lifetime. Without this protection, an ex-spouse who was awarded a portion of the pension in the divorce would receive nothing further if their ex died.
If you’re considering a military divorce, protect your rights and call Kevin G. Byrd – Attorney & Counselor at Law.