• Clark Henderson

Military pensions and divorce

Military couples in Florida often expect their marriage to be forever, but divorce happens. It’s important to know how military pensions are divided once your marriage ends.


What are military pensions?

Military pensions are benefits that members of the military acquire as part of their retirement package. Members of the military can’t access their pensions until they have served for at least 20 years or if they amass the appropriate number of points if they have served in the National Guard or Reserves.


What happens to a military pension after a divorce?

If you are a service member who has gotten a divorce, a portion of your military pension may go to your former spouse. If your divorce is happening in Florida, the pension will be divided according to the state’s rules on divorce.

Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that the property will be divided “fairly” between the parties. If you and your spouse cannot agree to a property division resolution, the judge in your case will issue a ruling that he or she believes to be fair to each spouse.

It is extremely important that you know what options you have regarding your pension if you find yourself headed toward a divorce. The wrong choices at this time can have a significant impact upon your financial future, and leave you in a very difficult position once you decide to retire. Spouses of military members should also be sure they carefully evaluate any proposed property division settlement with an attorney before making any final decisions.


How long does a spouse receive military pension benefits?

After a military divorce, your former spouse is entitled to payments from your military pension until one of you passes away. If you die first, the benefits will stop. If your former spouse dies before you, their benefits will cease upon their death.