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Military Divorce and Pensions

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2016 | Uncategorized

Military uniform with faded boards painted in American USA flag

I am going to pick up the blogs on Elder Law issues again eventually, but for the moment I want to touch on a few family law issues. Before I do so I am happy to note that my youngest child got married over the weekend. She was married in South Carolina, and this next Saturday we are having a reception in Colorado. I am so happy for her. Yay! An issue I am asked about time and again is how military pensions are divided in a divorce. This is an important subject because military pensions are incredibly valuable. So, if you are a military member, or the spouse of a military member, you need to get legal advice if there is a question concerning who gets what. Do not be like the woman who came to me after she waived her rights to a portion of her then husband’s military retirement; she lost thousands of dollars because she did not know her rights.

In Colorado courts use what is called the Hunt/Gallo formula to divide military pensions, retirement accounts and other types of pensions. In the case of military pension benefits the court takes the months of marriage during which the parties were married while one of them was in the military. The court then takes this number and divides it by the total months of military service at the time of retirement. For example: If a couple were married for 15 years during which one of them was in the military the numerator equals the number of years of marriage x 12 which in this case = 180 months. If at retirement the military member had served 20 years the denominator would = 240 months. Consequently, the marital share (the part divisible by the court) would equal 180/240 = .75. The court then divides this number by two and the result equals what the non-military spouse is tentatively entitled to; in this case it would be 37.5% of the military member’s retirement pay. There are other factors which come into play, but the above outlines the basic starting point. We do a lot of work for military members, and as I am retired Army I understand the nuances of the military and how it affects your legal goals.  If you have an issue involving a pension contact us; we would be glad to help.