Military Family Law
Helping Families Throughout San Diego County
Honest Counsel, Straightforward Answers
Phone: (760) 721-3839
Fax: (760) 721-2533
2424 Vista Way
Oceanside, CA 92054
Under the "Uniform Services Former Spouses' Protection Act" (USFSPA), each state (including California) is allowed to treat "disposable retirement pay" as community property according to each state's law. A former spouse may receive up to 50% of a service members "disposable retirement pay". "Disposable Retired Pay" allows for deductions of the following from a Retirees' gross pay:
a) Amounts owed by the member to the United States that are related to the receipt of retired pay (e.g. recoupment of overpayments).
b) Forfeitures ordered by a court-marital.
c) That portion which is military disability retired pay under 10 U.S.C. Chapter 61. If you are wounded, you may be eligible for disability and this in some cases would replace the retirement component of your long term income. Disability, in effect, becomes retirement.
d) That portion which is waived in favor of accepting Veterans' Affairs disability pay.
e) Premiums paid for Government life insurance or deduction to provide SBP annuity coverage in favor of a current or former spouse.
f) Other amounts required by law to be deducted that relate to a person's entitlement to retire pay (e.g. dual compensation restrictions).
g) That portion which is waived in favor of accepting Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) 10 USC §1413 (a).
How is Military Pension Divided When Divorcing in California?
California Family Code § 2550 requires that community property (including in Military Divorce) be divided equally. Earning and Retirement or Pension earned from the Date of Marriage until the Date of Separation are community property, assuming there is no premarital agreement to the contrary. In cases with Military Pensions, the Courts generally ensure that each spouse receives one half of the "disposable retired pay" earned by the service member from the Date of Marriage to the Date of Separation.
What is a "Survivor Benefit" for Divorcing Military Personnel?
Other than retirement, the other thing military personnel are concerned with is the "Survivor Benefit Program". This is like providing life insurance on the service member to cover retirement payments until the death of the non-military spouse. The cost of the survivor benefit is deducted directly out of the service person's military retirement. The court will often require the spouse who is receiving that survivor benefit to pay for it out of their portion of the retirement.
If you get a divorce prior to the retirement of the service person, you must apply for the survivor benefit within one year of retirement or you will not be able to get into that program. It is important to protect your spousal interest in the survivor benefit program, and to ensure that this is handled prior to your actual divorce.
Why is it Important to Have an Experienced Former Military Officer for your Military Divorce?
Military divorces require a unique set of skills and knowledge of the application and nuances of military and civilian law. There are potential pitfalls that a civilian attorney may miss that can preclude you from achieving the best result for both parties. As a former Marine and Judge Advocate General Officer, William Halsey has the experience and legal expertise to provide guidance to military personnel and their spouses who are considering a divorce.
At the Law Office of William C. Halsey, we have a genuine respect for military families and will work to make sure that your rights and interests are protected. There are long term ramifications when a marriage comes to an end. This is complicated when one or both of the spouses are active or retired military personnel. There are substantial issues relating to child custody, the division of debts and assets, and the protection of military retirement that must be fully understood and taken into account. Isn't it important to work with someone who shares your values, and your service to this nation?
Contact us or call us at (760) 721-3839 to discuss your unique situation, or schedule a free initial consultation at our office in Oceanside near Highway 78 and Interstate 5. We are open weekdays and offer evening, weekend and offsite appointments upon request. Let our experienced lawyers give you the sound legal counsel needed to make the important decisions in front of you, and to protect your interests and those of your family. We appreciate the service you and your family have offered to our country.
Law Office of William C. Halsey
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. You should not act or fail to act based on the information on this website. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorneys at Law Office of William C. Halsey are licensed to practice law in the State of California.