A Successful History Of
Handling Family Law Issues

Will divorce affect your military pension?

As a military member, you have earned a retirement pension for your years of dedicated service. If your marriage ends, can your former spouse claim part of that pension? 

Before filing for divorce in Georgia, get the facts about how the court will divide your military pension. 

State laws for property division

In general, military pensions are subject to the same state laws as other types of marital property. In Georgia, divorcing couples must divide marital property fairly but not necessarily equally. If you spent time in the military before getting married, part of your pension may constitute separate property and remain with you in the divorce. However, the interest earned on that amount during the marriage may fall into the category of marital property. You may want to give up other marital assets in exchange for your entire pension when you negotiate a divorce settlement. 

If you receive disability payments from the military, that amount constitutes separate property. However, the state can garnish those wages if you fail to pay spousal support or child support. 

Federal provisions for military pensions

Special federal rules apply for your former spouse to receive direct Department of Defense payments from your pension. In that case, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and at least 10 years of the marriage must overlap with your service to the nation. Your former spouse will not be eligible for direct payments exceeding 50% of your pension. 

The DOD has also established laws to protect military members whose spouses file for divorce in another jurisdiction. For example, if your military post is in Georgia but your spouse lives in and files for divorce in another state, that state cannot divide your pension or make determinations about child custody unless you agree to the venue. These provisions prevent court proceedings from occurring in your absence. 

Georgia courts require a thorough accounting of assets and debts from both spouses to determine a fair division of marital property. Your specific circumstances will determine whether your spouse will receive part of your military pension.