Retirement pay is an important asset for Georgia veterans. They depend on this money to both support them and supplement their income. However, they should be prepared for the fact that it could be subject to division in a divorce, even after they have put in their 20 years.
Division of pension is a possibility but not a certainty
The judge has the discretion to divide retirement pay, but is under no obligation to do so. They may consider a number of factors in making this decision, just like they would for any other asset division in a divorce. Even though a military pension is a federal payment, a state court just has the legal ability to divide it. This is true, even if the service member has not qualified for pension benefits yet.
Spouses do not have to wait for the court to decide
The military pension can be divided two ways. The divorcing spouses could reach an agreement amongst themselves to divide the pension. The other spouse can and should ask about it during the divorce. Otherwise, they will lose the right to raise the issue in the future. If they cannot reach an agreement, the judge will decide the matter. They may decide to award up to half of the pension to the other spouse. The length of the marriage is critical. The marriage should have lasted for at least 20 years, which is the amount of time needed to qualify for a pension. However, VA pensions are not subject to division in a divorce. They stay with the receiving spouse entirely.
Military divorces can be very complicated, since they present issues not found in regular divorces. You will need a family law attorney with a familiarity of military issues. If not, you risk harming your own financial situation without a complete understanding of how militarily divorces work.