Equitable Distribution of Military Benefits

Equitable Distribution of Military Benefits Rochester Divorce LawyerGoing through divorce is challenging. If you have questions about equitable distribution of military benefits, contact our Rochester divorce lawyer today.

Because military pensions increase under annual cost of living adjustments, any divorcing spouse whose marriage overlapped with a long period of military service will want to take a close look at pension benefits. Whether the military pension is your own or that of your spouse, experienced Rochester Divorce Lawyer Michael D. Schmitt can advise you about the most promising strategies for protecting your interests.

Marital assets are not divided one by one between divorcing spouses under New York law; instead, each spouse receives an equitable share of the value of whole. In other words, the overall value of the marital estate, and then distribute property between the spouses to achieve a fair and roughly equal division of assets and liabilities.

Broad spousal rights to military retirement benefits are established by federal law, but the details of dividing them are left first to the spouses to negotiate and then to the state courts to decide if a dispute can’t be resolved by agreement. Federal law prevents a New York court from awarding more than half of a military pension to a nonmilitary spouse. Up to that point, however, everything’s negotiable.

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Our Rochester Divorce Lawyer will help you develop and pursue realistic property division goals with respect to military pension rights in the context of your overall financial settlement. Experienced Rochester Divorce Lawyer Michael Schmitt will also advise nonmilitary spouses about their rights under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (FSPA), which grants certain additional benefits that continue and increase with the length of the marriage during a period of military service.

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For example, if the divorcing spouses were married for at least 20 years during the military spouse’s credited service, the nonmilitary spouse is entitled to medical benefits, commissary benefits and PX privileges until that spouse remarries. If the period of military service coincided with only 10 years of marriage, the nonmilitary spouse will not qualify for these additional benefits but will still be entitled to direct payment of a share of the military pension each month.

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Identifying the additional rights that a long-term military marriage can generate for the nonmilitary spouse can be complicated, especially if there is any question as to the precise dates of service or the marriage itself.

If you want help with equitable distribution of military benefits, please call Rochester divorce lawyer Michael Schmitt today for a free consultation.

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