J. Randall Hicks, P.C.

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What happens to a military pension when a couple divorces?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2022 | Military Divorce |

A lifetime of military service comes with certain benefits. From the unique job experiences possible to the housing provided for you and your family in the early stages of your career, there are many ways that military benefits improve the lives of servicemembers and their immediate family.

Having a well-funded pension to look forward to is also a valuable benefit for someone who served for long enough to qualify. For some, a military pension is why they turn their service into a career instead of a short-term commitment early in life.

Your military pension could constitute the only real retirement savings that you have accumulated during your marriage, especially if your spouse doesn’t work outside of the home and you have never sought civilian employment. What will happen to those military pension benefits if you divorce in Georgia?

Georgia law requires an equitable division of your assets

If you and your spouse entered into a premarital agreement that stated your retirement benefits are your separate property, then you won’t have to worry about sharing pension when you divorce.

However, for the purpose of property division, any pension benefits you accumulated during the marriage are potentially subject to division without such an agreement. The courts will ultimately decide how you and your ex will split military pension benefits unless you settle the issue outside of court.

They may order a division of the pension itself or use the approximate worth of the pension to guide other big decisions.

Are there military rules about the pension?

There is a well-known military rule that addresses the division of pension benefits when a military servicemember divorces. However, contrary to what people think, the rule does not discuss how people split pensions but rather who distributes the funds.

If the marriage has lasted more than 10 years and there were 10 years of active-duty military service during the marriage, then the Defense Finance and Accounting Service will make direct payments to the non-military spouse. Otherwise, the servicemember spouse will have to arrange distributions to their ex because the military will not make direct payments.

Learning more about the rules that govern pension division in Georgia military divorces is an important part of preparing for divorce.