Dividing Assets When Your Spouse Is in the Military


Even when a Pasadena divorce involves a spouse serving in the military, the details of the case are handled in California civil courts according to state laws. Nevertheless, there are still a few differences you should be aware of if you have a spouse who is in the military.

A military member's Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) details many of the assets that will be used in determining property division, child support, and alimony.

The military can provide direct retirement payments for an ex-spouse if the couple was married for at least fifteen years of the military service. The maximum pension an ex-spouse can receive is 50% of the military member's retirement pay.

A military thrift savings plan is considered in the same way as a 401(k) when dividing assets during a divorce.

A spouse who was listed as the beneficiary of a Survivor Benefit Plan will not automatically remain the beneficiary of the plan after a divorce. This issue must be addressed specifically in the divorce settlement.

Military spouses are more likely to receive alimony than civilian spouses. The nature of military life often requires that a military spouse be willing to move frequently and stay home to care for any children from the marriage. This has a substantial impact on a military spouse's ability to earn an independent income.

When alimony is awarded, it is generally considered a temporary award to be used for rehabilitative purposes. Alimony might be used to pay living expenses while the former military spouse is going back to school or starting her own business.

Although some states will automatically include the value of military retirement benefits when calculating alimony payments, California does not do this.

Since military benefits can be hard to value, it is important to seek the assistance of a divorce attorney who is experienced in handling military divorces. Not all divorce attorneys are familiar with the nuances of dividing military benefits.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com if you are in need of legal representation during your divorce. Our Pasadena matrimonial law firm is committed to helping you obtain a fair settlement as quickly as possible so you are free to move on to the next stage of your life.