Military Retirement Division Jurisdiction In Colorado Springs Divorce
A military retirement plan is often the most valuable asset in a Colorado Springs divorce proceeding. Due to federal law, jurisdiction over a federal retirement plan may be different than jurisdiction over other property in the divorce.Subject Matter Jurisdiction
In order to divide a military pension, the Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) requires that the court have jurisdiction over the service member, either by consent or state residence. Simply being stationed in a state is not sufficient as military members residency does not automatically change by virtue of physical presence in a state due to military orders. Consent must be affirmative and can not be based on a lack of objection to jurisdiction. However, consent can be inferred if the service member participates in the action and requests a remedy. Additionally, a military member who owns property in Colorado will usually be treated as a resident.
While military members may initially object to jurisdiction, many will eventually consent for reasons, such as:military retirement and spousal maintenance are related. Spousal maintenance can be subject to modification for the military member when the former spouse begins to receive a share of the retirement.Retirement Division Eligibility
Any state court can divide a military retirement regardless of the length of the marriage if it has jurisdiction. There is no minimum period for division. If the overlap of the marriage and the service was ten years or more, then the Defense Finance Accounting Service can pay the former spouse directly. This is commonly called the 10/10 rule. Direct payment is convenient as there are no disputes between the spouses as may occur with direct payment. Additionally the payment is secure when being paid directly by the government. The the overlap was less, then the service member simply pays the former spouse directly.Remarriage and Military Retirement
Because military retirement is a property settlement rather than a support payment, remarriage does not impact the division. However, remarriage can impact the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), which is akin to a life insurance plan. The SBP provides up to 55 percent of a service member's retired pay to the beneficiary upon the death of the member. Without the SBP, if the military member were to pass away, the beneficiary would lose that income stream.
A military retiree begins paying premiums for SBP upon retirement. Premiums are paid from gross retired pay, so are deducted from taxable income. The premiums are subsidized by the government, so they are below comparable life insurance value.Turning Change Into Opportunity in Colorado Springs
How can an attorney help with military retirement matters? A Colorado Springs divorce and family law attorney can guide you through Colorado Springs military retirement issues. This allows you to focus on moving forward to a better future rather than on spending your time trying to figure out the overly complex court system. Contact us at 719-344-5523 or complete our online form to set up a free thirty-minute informational consultation.