Military Divorce Pay
PROTECTING THE NON MEMBER’S SHARE OF MILITARY RETIRED PAY AFTER MILITARY DIVORCE
If you are the spouse of a military member and entitled to a percentage of his/her military divorce pay, you will want to make sure that your military divorce settlement agreement is drafted in a manner which will protect your entitlement from a future election of a VA waiver taken on behalf of your soon to be ex spouse.
So what is a VA waiver? Retired service members, as they become older, can develop disabilities which if proven to be “service-connected”, can qualify for disability pay. These disabilities can range from hearing loss to arthritis to a nervous condition and as long as they can be associated to years of service in the armed forces, the member can receive disability pay. Disability pay is non taxable unlike retirement pay. Retired members therefore have to “waive” their retirement benefits dollar for dollar in order to receive the same amount of money in form of disability.
When this happens, the former spouse gets short changed and his/her retirement benefits are reduced. For example if the member now receives $400.00 in disability pay, then the former spouse’s retirement benefits are reduced by $200.00 and in extreme cases his or her retirement benefit may completely disappear. It is very costly to hire attorneys and go back to court to redeem this money and in some instances impossible.
So what can be done to prevent this from happening? Careful drafting of the military divorce settlement agreement to include an indemnification clause or an automatic establishment of alimony to make the former spouse “whole” is crucial and can save the former spouse from losing his/her home to foreclosure and other life altering events. Call Brandon/Riverview divorce attorney, Marina Taylor, and learn how you can protect your share of military retirement in a military divorce.