Here are some of the basic formulas used to determine the division of military retired pay in a divorce situation. As you will see, the calculations change depending on whether a person is currently serving in the military or already in retirement.
Dividing Military Retirement in a Divorce after Retirement
The number of years served in the military during the marriage is divided by the total number of years served. For example, if a military service member served for three years of active duty before getting married, and then another 15 years before retirement, the marital share of their retirement pay that would be divided in a divorce would be equal to 15 divided by 18, or 83.3%. A court will still need to determine the percentage of that amount that is awarded to each party.
Dividing Military Retired Pay in a Divorce before Retirement
Since the total years of service are still unknown before a service member retires, the amount of time served will be calculated and then set aside until retirement. Then, the percentage figure will be calculated using the formula above. In cases like these, the court order will recognize the number of years served within the divorce agreement and stipulate how that figure will be used in future calculations at the time of retirement. Once the service member retires, the Military Department of Finance will fill in the denominator, or total numbers of months served, and divide the retirement plan according to the court order.
If you need help with dividing military retirement in a divorce, or with any other aspects of a military divorce, contact a Colorado Springs military divorce lawyer for a free consultation.