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Respected Chesapeake Divorce Lawyers Explain Division of Military Retirement Pensions

Military divorce attorneys in Chesapeake can advise how federal and state laws affect pension division

In 1984 Congress passed the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). This act made it the law of the land that states needed to consider military retirement pay as marital property, so that it may be divided between spouses at divorce.

But different states handle the division of marital property very differently. You may not be entitled to exactly what you think you are when your divorce involves military retirement. If you are going through a military divorce in the state of Virginia, you need an experienced military divorce law firm in Chesapeake like Harding, Harding & Harding Attorneys at Law to explain your options and clarify your expectations.

Virginia laws regarding division of military retirement

Chesapeake military divorce attorneys often begin discussion of dividing retirement pay with the concept of the marital share. This share is a fraction calculated in the following way: The state takes the total number of months the spouses were married and were not separated during the applicable period of creditable military service, and divides it by the total number of months of creditable military service. In most cases, Virginia courts will award the spouse one half of what the marital share is determined to be.

If the service member spouse is already retired, the marital share is easy to calculate. But in cases where the member is still on active duty when the divorce occurs, it cannot be done because one portion of the formula, the length of creditable military service, does not yet exist.

The court will, in this case, determine the fixed length of the marriage at the time of divorce and the percentage of retirement to be awarded upon military retirement, and allow the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to calculate the creditable military service and the actual amount of the award when that retirement occurs.

Limits of the DFAS

No matter how good a settlement your military divorce attorney in Chesapeake gains for you, rules under USFSPA limit what DFAS is allowed to do. Even if a state awards more than half of the retirement pay of your former spouse, DFAS cannot directly pay more than 50 percent of the disposable retired pay in question. Also, the DFAS will only pay the former spouse directly if the marriage lasted at least 10 years while overlapping military service. If this is not the case, DFAS will pay retirement to the retired service member, who must then pay the former spouse the awarded amount.

Harding, Harding & Harding Attorneys at Law is an experienced and reputable military divorce law firm in the Virginia Beach area. If you face a military divorce in the state of Virginia, do not go it alone.

One of the most trustworthy Chesapeake military divorce law firms practicing today

Contact Harding, Harding & Harding Attorneys at Law online or at today. He will gladly schedule a free consultation to listen to the specifics of your military divorce case.

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