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    floridanative's Avatar
    floridanative Posts: 23, Reputation: 2
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    #1

    Feb 3, 2009, 08:51 PM
    entitled to part of x-husband's military retirement?
    Married an active duty military man in 1971. He had been in the military 3 years prior to our marriage. We were married almost 16 years, divorced in 1987. He retired from the military in 1990.
    Is there anyway I can receive any of his retirement? Or is it "too late"? Or does it depend on other circumstances? Thanks
    George_1950's Avatar
    George_1950 Posts: 3,100, Reputation: 236
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    #2

    Feb 3, 2009, 09:21 PM

    You are saying that you divorced in 1987? Wouldn't he have retired 'early' if he did so in 1990? Does that make twenty years? What does your divorce say? I believe you are getting into a technical area and will need a good attorney to determine whether you have waived your claim. Were you represented in the divorce?
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    floridanative Posts: 23, Reputation: 2
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    #3

    Feb 3, 2009, 09:33 PM

    We were divorced in 1987. He had been in the military for 3 yrs. When we married in 1971 the divorce was uncontested, I was shell shocked, and just signed the paperwork.
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    George_1950 Posts: 3,100, Reputation: 236
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    #4

    Feb 3, 2009, 09:43 PM

    You've probably heard, "The devil's in the details." And, that is why there are contests, to resolve property division, as well as the other issues. You need to locate your copy of the divorce, etc. What does the divorce decree say? Did you have a lawyer?
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    floridanative Posts: 23, Reputation: 2
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    #5

    Feb 3, 2009, 09:52 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by George_1950 View Post
    You've probably heard, "The devil's in the details." And, that is why there are contests, to resolve property division, as well as the other issues. You need to locate your copy of the divorce, etc. What does the divorce decree say? Did you have a lawyer?
    I do not have a copy of the divorce decree. No, I did not have a lawyer. I've got lots of "details", and believe me, the devil is in there.
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    George_1950 Posts: 3,100, Reputation: 236
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    #6

    Feb 3, 2009, 10:07 PM

    You need to get your copy, pronto! Then see a competent marital lawyer to get a legal opinion of what rights you have, under the divorce and the law of your state. You may have an unlitigated claim that needs to be pursued.
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    floridanative Posts: 23, Reputation: 2
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    #7

    Feb 4, 2009, 10:15 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by George_1950 View Post
    You need to get your copy, pronto! Then see a competent marital lawyer to get a legal opinion of what rights you have, under the divorce and the law of your state. You may have an unlitigated claim that needs to be pursued.
    How do I get a copy of the divorce decree? He filed for divorce, I signed the paperwork, I was young and na´ve. I'm sure it said I would not get any of his retirement. He knew exactly what he was doing.

    Regardless, I spent almost 16 years of my life married to him, endured MANY deployments, worked (outside the home) full time, and raised our 2 children. We married when I was a teenager, he RULED my world. Until he decided to exit with a girl that was barely older than our daughter. There's plenty more, but does it really matter? I doubt it. Live and learn.

    Thanks for your response. I will try to find a "competent" marital lawyer, at least get an opinion of my rights, if any.
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    George_1950 Posts: 3,100, Reputation: 236
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    #8

    Feb 4, 2009, 10:44 AM

    You should locate your divorce (you need the entire file) in either your home county or his home county at the time the divorce was filed. Have you ever seen it? It should state what county and state.

    As for a lawyer, check this: Home - American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
    Of course, joining an association doe not a good lawyer make; personal referrals are best.
    Emland's Avatar
    Emland Posts: 2,468, Reputation: 496
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    #9

    Feb 4, 2009, 11:16 AM

    floridanative: Have you remarried? That will determine a lot.

    The rule of thumb is if you are married to the active duty service member for 10 years you are entitled to 30% of his retirement. You may have waived that in your divorce agreement, though.

    Wouldn't hurt to consult with an attorney familiar with active duty military to see if the issue can be revisited. You may have health benefits available as well.
    cadillac59's Avatar
    cadillac59 Posts: 1,326, Reputation: 94
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    #10

    Feb 4, 2009, 11:33 AM

    If you were married 16 years of your ex-husband's 22 year military career you should be entitled to 36.36% of his gross retirement benefits [16/22= 72.72% marital property (or community property in some states) divided by 2 = 36.36%.] It all depends what's in the divorce decree. So check it out.

    You could have also been named as SBP beneficiary if he elected the SBP on retirement (it could have been required in the divorce decree--typically is). Since you were married over 10 years DFAS would send you a check directly (again, if the retirement is divided in the divorce decree).

    You have to look at what's in the judgment. If you signed off on it and gave it to him it's gone.

    Oh, and there's no health benefits. You would have been entitled to one years worth but it's too late for that now.
    Emland's Avatar
    Emland Posts: 2,468, Reputation: 496
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    #11

    Feb 4, 2009, 01:49 PM

    I am married to a man who served 20 years in the Navy. We married 1 week before he went to boot camp. If we divorced there is no way I would receive 50% of his pension. It doesn't work that way with military pensions.

    I know this from knowing other women who have divorced (I live near the world's largest Navy base) and also from consulting with an attorney when we went through a really rough time after he retired. A spouse who has been a housewife the entire time can expect 35%. A spouse who has worked during the service member's career and has their own retirement (401k, etc) can expect about 25%. If we divorce tomorrow I will retain my health benefits unless I remarry.

    Hence, my rule of thumb.
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    floridanative Posts: 23, Reputation: 2
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    #12

    Feb 4, 2009, 02:12 PM
    [QUOTE=cadillac59;1527715]
    If you signed off on it and gave it to him it's gone.

    The big "if", and I'm sure I did, like I said, he knew exactly what he was doing, and I was too young, or too stupid, to do otherwise.
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    floridanative Posts: 23, Reputation: 2
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    #13

    Feb 4, 2009, 02:27 PM
    [QUOTE=Emland;1527663]floridanative: Have you remarried? That will determine a lot.

    The rule of thumb is if you are married to the active duty service member for 10 years you are entitled to 30% of his retirement. You may have waived that in your divorce agreement, though.

    I am not married. Since the divorce in 1987 (22 yrs ago) I was remarried for less than 2 years, and that was in 2003.
    Thank you for the info/your response.
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    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6056
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    #14

    Feb 4, 2009, 03:32 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by cadillac59 View Post
    The big "if", and I'm sure I did, like I said, he knew exactly what he was doing, and I was too young, or too stupid, to do otherwise.
    Umm, If you were married for 16 years, that meant you would have been, at least, in your mid to late 30s when you divorced. So the too young doesn't sound right.

    Your ONLY hope is getting an attorney that can prove you were taken advantage of. A long shot at best.

    P.S. When you quote someone's post, their post is enclosed in a {quote}{/quote} bracket pair. For the quote to appear properly, you have to leave the bracketed pair
    cadillac59's Avatar
    cadillac59 Posts: 1,326, Reputation: 94
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    #15

    Feb 4, 2009, 03:53 PM
    I am married to a man who served 20 years in the Navy. We married 1 week before he went to boot camp. If we divorced there is no way I would receive 50% of his pension. It doesn't work that way with military pensions.

    It most certainly does in California. Unless your state has some different rule of its own on your interest in military retirements, this is exactly how it works and DFAS honors this sort of division all the time. The division is 50/50 if there is a 100% overlap of marital time (during which the servicemember performed creditable service toward retirement) with the total creditable time served in the military.

    I know this from knowing other women who have divorced (I live near the world's largest Navy base) and also from consulting with an attorney when we went through a really rough time after he retired.

    I know this from being a family law attorney in California and a Certified Family Law Specialist in this state, certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

    I also know this from personally having represented former military members in divorces and seeing orders processed by the court, signed by a judge, and approved by DFAS providing for a 50/50 division of a former military members retirement benefits.

    [I]A spouse who has been a housewife the entire time can expect 35%. A spouse who has worked during the service member's career and has their own retirement (401k, etc) can expect about 25%.

    What state has this sort of rule? I've never heard of such a thing and in any event, if any state had such a rule, it would only apply to that particular jurisdiction. That's not a universal rule. I can cite a practice guide for the entire country that references the time rule I mentioned.

    If we divorce tomorrow I will retain my health benefits unless I remarry.

    Correct, if you are a 20/20/20 spouse or for one year only of you are a 20/20/15 spouse, none if you are neither.
    cadillac59's Avatar
    cadillac59 Posts: 1,326, Reputation: 94
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    #16

    Feb 4, 2009, 04:11 PM
    [QUOTE=floridanative;1528136]
    Quote Originally Posted by Emland View Post
    floridanative: Have you remarried? That will determine a lot.

    The rule of thumb is if you are married to the active duty service member for 10 years you are entitled to 30% of his retirement. You may have waived that in your divorce agreement, though.

    I am not married. Since the divorce in 1987 (22 yrs ago) I was remarried for less than 2 years, and that was in 2003.
    Thank you for the info/your response.
    Remarriage does not waive your right to your share of your ex-husband's military retirement. However, as I said whether it was waived depends on what the divorce decree provided for.
    George_1950's Avatar
    George_1950 Posts: 3,100, Reputation: 236
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    #17

    Feb 4, 2009, 04:12 PM

    Check this: "The Spouse's Strategy"
    Military Pension Division Information
    cadillac59's Avatar
    cadillac59 Posts: 1,326, Reputation: 94
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    #18

    Feb 4, 2009, 04:20 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by George_1950 View Post
    Check this: "The Spouse's Strategy"
    Military Pension Division Information
    Thanks for posting that link, that's an informative website.

    I practice in California so I really cannot speak to the substantive domestic relations law of other states. However, my recollection is that the military leaves it to state courts and the state's domestic relations laws to determine the former spouse's interest in a military retirement and will honor any division up to but not exceeding a 50% division of the former servicemember's retirement.

    We get 50% division orders all the time here (although I've noticed many that fall a little short of 50% because of retirements that occur after separation or because many marriage took place after enlistment).

    Division of military retirements is super-easy. All you use is the familiar time rule (the fraction I mentioned earlier) that divides marital time during which the member performed creditable service that counts toward retirement by the total creditable service time, then divide by 2 and that's it for what percentage of the total retirement goes where.
    George_1950's Avatar
    George_1950 Posts: 3,100, Reputation: 236
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    #19

    Feb 4, 2009, 04:23 PM

    The OP could still be married, for all we know. If she's divorced, she may, or may not, have waived her claim to equitable distribution.

    Got to get a copy of the entire file!
    cadillac59's Avatar
    cadillac59 Posts: 1,326, Reputation: 94
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    #20

    Feb 4, 2009, 04:25 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by George_1950 View Post
    The OP could still be married, for all we know. If she's divorced, she may, or may not, have waived her claim to equitable distribution.

    Got to get a copy of the entire file!
    I think she's sure she's divorced (she mentioned having remarried as well). But yes, she has to review the divorce decree to get the answer she is looking for.

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