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New Law Changes How Military Retirement Divided in Divorce

Posted on in Complex Divorce

Texas divorce attorney, Texas family law attorneyDivorce can be a complicated, stressful, and truly difficult time for those involved, especially when one or both parties are or were formerly members of the military. Recent changes to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) further complicates how assets will be divided in divorces where one of the parties is a member of the military. To learn more about how these changes could affect your or your family, it is crucial to speak with an experienced complex divorce attorney who can explain the potential repercussions.

Disposable Military Retired Pay

According to the USFSPA, state courts are permitted to treat disposable military retired pay as divisible property during a couple’s divorce. Although the law authorizes state courts to make this division, it does not require it and does not provide a formula for division. However, the law does provide a mechanism that enables former spouses to enforce an award by receiving direct payments from a member’s retired pay.

Recent Amendments

The question of how to define disposable retired pay has always been a contentious issue. Recently enacted changes, however, have attempted to resolve some of the confusion by amending the definition. For divorces entered after December of 2016 and under the terms of the new amendments, disposable income will be limited to the amount of basic pay that a member receives based on:

  • His or her pay grade; and
  • The amount of time he or she had spent in the military when the court order was issued.

Prior to this change, a member of the military could be forced to pay a former spouse a portion of his or her salary at the time of retirement, even if the divorce occurred decades prior. Critics were concerned that this penalized active duty members for their accomplishments in a manner that was not expected of parties in a civilian divorce. As a result of the amendments, however, an active military member’s disposable income for the purpose of divorce will now be calculated using the amount of pay and the number of years that the member served at the time the order was issued.

Contact us Today to Speak with an Experienced Complex Divorce Attorney in Your Area

If you are considering a divorce and you or your spouse is a member of the military, you may be facing complex and unique legal issues. To learn more about your rights and responsibilities, please contact the experienced Leander complex divorce attorneys at Powers and Kerr, PLLC. Our dedicated attorneys are eager to assist you throughout each step of your case, and we will begin working on your behalf as soon as possible.




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