Florida law generally governs the manner in which assets and debts are divided during a divorce. This includes retirement or pension benefits. The division of retirement benefits becomes a bit more complicated if one or both parties are in the military, however.
When it comes to the division of military pension benefits in a divorce, Florida law determines the distribution process. The state follows the equitable distribution of property standard in regard to marital assets. Pursuant to this standard, a court is to divide assets and debts accumulated during the course of a marriage in a fair and equitable manner between the spouses. This includes retirement plans or pensions, including military retirement benefits.
Department of Defense rules regarding direct payment of military retirement benefits
With respect to military retirement benefits, the Department of Defense maintains rules regarding direct payments. The most significant of these rules is that in order for direct payments to be made to a former spouse, the marriage to the military member must have been for at least 10 years. Moreover, at least 10 years of the marriage must have overlapped the term of military service credited to retirement benefits.
Direct pay will also no be made in an amount over 50% of retired pay, with one caveat. The portion rises to a 65% if child support or alimony is included.
The division of marital assets typically is one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce. Divvying up property can be legally complicated and emotionally charged. For these reasons, engaging experienced legal counsel is an advisable course.