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Guide to military pensions and divorce: Part 1

If you serve in the military and are facing a divorce, you likely have concerns about how the state will divide your pension. The answer to this common question varies based on the type of plan, your status in the military and other factors. 

Review the first part of this comprehensive guide to military pensions and divorce. 

The role of state law

Under the federal Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, the state where you divorce governs the division of your military pension. Georgia is an equitable division state, which calls for a fair split of assets and debts accrued during the marriage. You can file for divorce in Georgia if you or your spouse lived in the state for at least six months before separating. 

Methods of division

No matter how long your marriage lasted, your spouse can receive a portion of your military pension or retirement. However, exactly how to divide the pension varies. Some common options include: 

  • Following the provisions of a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that you both signed prior to the divorce 
  • Awarding your spouse a percentage of your military pension 
  • Awarding your spouse a flat payment from the pension 
  • Agreeing to exchange other marital assets for your spouse’s share of your military pension 

In some cases, your former spouse can request a portion of your pension directly from the military. This applies only when he or she has obtained a court order, the marriage lasted for 10 years or more, and you served in the military for at least a decade that overlapped with the marriage.