Divorce is rarely an easy process. For military service members, divorce issues often become more complicated than usual. We frequently encounter questions relating to the division of retirement pensions for service members who get divorced.
Keep reading for answers to the most common general questions about dividing retirement assets in military divorce.
Are military pensions included in property division?
Yes. “Marital property,” the assets subject to division in divorce, includes all assets acquired during the time a couple is married. Generally, this includes retirement benefits, such as a military pension.
How is marital property divided in Alabama?
Alabama is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning rather than strictly dividing all assets 50/50 between spouses the court orders a distribution that fairly divides assets between the parties.
Does every military spouse qualify for part of retirement benefits?
No. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act governs the way divorce proceedings address military retirement benefits. It would entitle a former spouse to a portion of retirement assets only if the marriage lasted at least ten years while the service member was on active duty.
Does a qualifying spouse automatically get half of retirement assets?
Not necessarily. A former spouse can receive up to 50% of the service member’s disposable retirement pay in the divorce decree. However, because Alabama follows equitable distribution a court may decide a lower percentage is appropriate.
Of course, every case is different. For advice about your particular military divorce case, it is best to consult with a family law attorney experienced in this type of proceeding.