New Proposal Could Upend Division of Retired Assets in Military Divorce Cases

- Gary E. Williams

Former spouses could see a smaller share of their former spouse’s monthly retirement pay under new legislation proposed earlier this year. The proposal, which is specific to military divorce cases, has been described as a “radical rewrite” compared to existing laws regarding property division in military divorce.

Under the proposed legislation, state courts would be required to award payments to former spouses of military service members based on the duration of time served and the rank at the time of divorce, rather than at the time of retirement, which is currently the case.

The legislation was introduced in the House to amend the existing Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA).

Though the proposal drew both praise and criticism, those introducing the legislation focused on the need to protect a service member’s future interest, citing a number of marriages that end early on in a spouse’s military career.

Military Divorce Cases

The path to divorce is never easy, but there are certain circumstances that may produce additional (perhaps complex) considerations, like in cases involving military spouses. These divorce cases, known as military divorce, often present a unique set of legal hurdles, which can become confusing for both parties involved.

The first thing to consider with military divorce cases is the fact that service members are, under the Service Members Civil Relief Act of 2003, entitled to certain protections. These protections cover a variety of areas, including whether or not a military service member can be obligated to appear before a court.

These regulations also address the issue of determining “state of residence” for service members on assignment across the globe. For example, if you are a service member and were considered a resident of the state of Florida before departing on military assignment, you would still be considered a resident of Florida when filing for a divorce.

Under current USFSPA guidelines, military retirement pay is classified as property, rather than income. Therefore, it is subject to Florida’s equitable distribution law in the event of divorce. There are also a number of other things to consider in military divorce cases, especially in situations involving children, medical insurance issues or Survivor Benefit Plans.

That’s why,

Finding a Skilled Military Divorce Attorney

This is where the family law specialists at the Law Firm for Family Law come in. In Florida’s Pinellas County, we serve as the premier law resource for those dealing with a wide array of family law issues, including spouses involved in military divorce.

Our firm’s founder is one of 18 Board Certified Experts in Family and Marital Law, and our team of skilled attorneys have a great deal of experience handling the various complicated issues that often arise in military divorce cases. Regardless of your situation, we are prepared to stand by and support you every step of the way.

Do not delay – our attorneys have the experience and skills necessary to see your case through to a successful end. To schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team, call the Law Firm for Family Law at (727) 531-8737.