Many clients have questions about the division of military retirement benefits in a divorce. There is a special procedure that Williamsburg family law attorneys must follow in such a process. A fair property division includes both current assets and future assets. One example is home equity: if the marital residence is awarded to one party, these should be provisions in the decree to give the other party a proportional share of the equity if the house is sold later. Military retirement benefits are another example: although the retirement account may be technically worthless at the time of divorce, that account must also be divided in a fair and equitable manner.
Military qualified domestic relations order
Since 1983, the United States military has used QDROs to divide military retirement benefits at the time of divorce. Federal law authorizes up to 50 percent of payments to be directed to an alternate payee — the non-retiring spouse. With allowable garnishments for such things as past-due child support or spousal support, the percentage can be as much as 65 percent.
Military retirement division must meet the 10-10 rule: the marriage must have lasted 10 years or more, during which the military spouse had 10 or more years of service. And, while some retirement plans have provisions to give alternate payees their share of the account up front, the alternate payee in a military retirement account must wait until the recipient spouse begins receiving money. Benefits terminate to the alternate payee upon the death of the payee spouse, unless the plan includes Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) coverage.
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