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Can I get retirement benefits in a military divorce?

If you currently face divorce from a military member, you likely have a lot of questions regarding the benefits you may still have access to after the divorce. It is crucial to understand how the benefits you currently enjoy as a military spouse may change after your divorce is complete.

Not all the benefits you currently have access to will necessarily disappear after your divorce. In fact, there is a federal law that protects former spouses of military members. It aims to help the courts accurately divide assets, including any retirement benefits you may have access to.

Retirement benefits in a military divorce

One of the first things you need to understand regarding military retirement benefits is that service members get retirement pay for the rest of their lives after they have served in active duty for 20 years or more. You may be able to ask the courts to divide those benefits between you and your former spouse. Some couples are able to negotiate what type of retirement benefits they divide, especially in cases where couples were married for many years and are nearing retirement age.

This factor becomes particularly important in couples where the non-military spouse did not work, and in cases where this spouse was a stay-at-home parent who raised children. These former spouses will likely have fewer opportunities to enter the job market after divorce or reduced work opportunities, thus making the division of benefits especially critical to financial well-being.

Ways to seek retirement benefits

Your family law attorney will discuss with you the various options you have in terms of military divorce asset division, including retirement benefits. There are other military benefits you may also be able to retain after the divorce, so it is a good idea for you to make a list of all the benefits you currently enjoy as a military spouse. Ensure you understand how you may be able to keep these benefits after the divorce. A family law attorney who has experience working with military couples is your best option for approaching these specialized topics.

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