How to Divide a Military Pension in Divorce

When it becomes clear that your marriage is no longer working for you and your spouse, it may be time to think about a divorce. There are a lot of questions about who gets what and how things are divided in North Carolina. When you’re in the military, one of your biggest concerns may be your military pension.

A pension is a valuable asset

When you first start to make your list of marital assets, your pension plan can be a big one. You’ve worked hard to be qualified to receive your military pension, and you want to ensure that you’ll be able to use it in full when the time arises. However, you may be wondering if your former spouse is entitled to any of your military pension. The truth is that it depends on the laws in your state.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act of 1982 allows state-level courts to determine how retirement pay will be classified in a military divorce case. The property may be classified as solely the military member’s, or it may be classified as marital property. In the state of North Carolina, non-military spouses can receive up to 50% of the military member’s disposable pension.

Jurisdiction over the military member

Many military members are stationed all around the country, away from the places that they call home. Under the USFSPA, the state court is only allowed to divide a military member’s retired pay in the event that they have proper jurisdiction over the military member. To have jurisdiction, the state court must be in the state that the military member considers their primary residence, or the military member must consent to the court’s jurisdiction over the case.

Going through a divorce comes with many questions, including what happens to your military pension. Navigating through these laws can be difficult, which is why it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer to assist with your case.

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