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Question: I am currently active duty 19 years. Divorced 2 years ago. Spouse is eligible for a share of my retirement. However the decree states I must begin to pay her share of my retirement beginning the month I am eligible to retire. It was based of a % share. No lawyer or my military office can give me how much that share is in dollars they tell me they will know when I retire. How can I pay her monthly when no one knows the amount until I retire? Is it even Legal that I have to pay her retirement if I haven’t retired? Did I not get good representation?

Answer: First question -  does the court order meet the statutory requirements of the federal government?  A huge percentage of the pension division orders prepared by state court end up being rejected by the Department of Defense as not meeting the criteria required by NDAA 17.  The second thing you need to know -- under the statutory revisions of 2017, the wife's percentage of pension benefits is based on your rank and years of service at the time of divorce, not when you actually retire.  That means that if you were  not eligible to retire at the time of the divorce, her award would be limited by the agreed upon percentage of your retirement benefits based on what those benefits would have been if you retired on that date.  If your pension continues to increase because of time in service or an elevation in rank, she gets no portion of those extra benefits.  These are the rules that apply if you were divorced after the end of December, 2016.  For more information, read this article: https://www.nclamp.gov/for-lawyers/additional-resources/just-for-judges-military-pension-division-the-new-frozen-benefit-rule/

QUESTIONS

  • I am currently active duty 19 years. Divorced 2 years ago. Spouse is eligible for a share of my retirement. However the decree states I must begin to pay her share of my retirement beginning the month I am eligible to retire. It was based of a % share. No lawyer or my military office can give me how much that share is in dollars they tell me they will know when I retire. How can I pay her monthly when no one knows the amount until I retire? Is it even Legal that I have to pay her retirement if I haven’t retired? Did I not get good representation?

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