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Military Pension Law Affects Military Personnel and Former Spouses

 Posted on February 05, 2019 in Division of Property

Lombard, IL Divorce Attorney

The annual military divorce rate is not as high as many people believe. The divorce rate has remained at 3 percent over the last four years. Numerically speaking, 21,290 of 689,060 married troops divorced in 2017. 

The legal issues surrounding military marriage and divorce can be difficult to understand, as military law is different than civilian law. Over the past few years, many changes have been made regarding military pension and its division with divorcees. 

The Frozen Benefit Rule

This law is meant to benefit military members of all branches. This includes the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Public Health Service’s Commissioned Corps. The law comes into effect for military personnel going through a divorce. Under this law, a member’s rank and pay are frozen at the time of their divorce. This means the pension received by the individual’s former spouse will match the rank and pay that the member was receiving at the time of the divorce. Therefore, if the military member receives a higher rank, the former spouse will not receive additional compensation.

The frozen benefit rule is particularly helpful for individuals who have suffered disability during their years of service. Disability benefits pay is determined by the severity of the disability. If it is a minor disability, the member will be required to waive their pension to become eligible for the disability benefits pay. Waiving these payments can directly affect a former spouse’s portion of the pension. The frozen benefit rule allows these military members to retain any additional compensation they have earned without having to give this up to a former spouse. This law was originally only used in five states but has now become a national mandate.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney for Help

The division of marital property and alimony payments vary depending on each individual situation. Military divorces are no exception. This legal area can be a challenge to understand for everyone involved. It is important to seek out an experienced attorney to ensure you fully understand every aspect of your divorce. If you are an individual in the military who is considering divorce, contact our Lombard, IL divorce attorneys at 630-426-0196.


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