By: Dustin Humphrey
People mistakenly believe many myths when it comes to legal matters, particularly in divorce cases. One myth that our office seems to be constantly refuting deals with military divorce and a spouse’s right to their ex’s military retirement.
Under Kentucky law, military retired pay is a divisible marital asset, meaning a soldier’s spouse has an interest in the retired pay. It is commonly believed by soldiers that their former spouse can only get a portion of their retirement if they have been married for ten years or more.
This is simply not true.
In fact, a soldier’s former spouse has a right to a portion of their retired pay no matter how long they were married.
This comes as a shock to many soldiers who have mistakenly believed the myth. The reason many soldiers may have this confused is because there is a rule that says the former spouse cannot receive their portion of the retirement directly from the government unless the parties were married ten years or more while the military member performed ten years or more of military service (called the 10/10 overlap). This does not mean the former spouse isn’t entitled to the money, only that the government isn’t the one collecting it and paying them. Rather, the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the ex to collect their percentage of the retirement each month directly from the soldier.
As can be expected, many problems can arise in this process. Often the parties have lost touch and the ex doesn’t know where the retired soldier is living or have the correct contact information.
If the parties do meet the 10/10 overlap, the ex can file paperwork with the Defense Finance Accounting Service and he or she will receive the correct percentage each month.
If you have any questions about military divorce and retired pay, please do not hesitate to contact a lawyer. The attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Pike want to make sure you understand the legal matters surrounding your divorce.
Dustin joined the SBW&P team in 2010, coming to us from one of the oldest firms in Cincinnati. He earned his undergraduate degree from Bellarmine University, summa cum laude, and his law degree from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, where he graduated cum laude. Dustin’s law practice includes personal injury law, medical malpractice law, business law including corporations, LLCs and business planning, real estate law, probate law, estate planning, employment law, and family law.