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Does your ex get military retirement payments?

You get divorced during your career in the military. Your ex wants to get part of your retirement benefits when that career ends. Are they entitled to it?

They may be. It can factor into the divorce settlement agreement. For instance, your spouse may use a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) to see a percentage of the compensation. If approved, whatever percentage of the monthly payment is allotted to your ex has to be paid out from the benefits you earned.

The general idea here is that many spouses plan on using someone else's retirement benefits, so losing that in divorce can be substantial, meaning they have not properly prepared for retirement. There may be no time to rectify this. The QDRO ensures that they still get the retirement options they thought they would get prior to the divorce.

There is another thing to consider that is specific to a military divorce. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) makes direct retirement payments. For those who were married for 10 years and when that marriage overlapped with 10 years that the military spouse was involved in the service, then the ex-spouse may get direct payments from DFAS. This could make a QDRO unnecessary, though even a spouse who does not qualify for these direct military payments may still get benefits through a QDRO.

These situations can get a bit complicated, and there is a lot on the line financially. Make sure both you and your ex understand your legal rights and all of the various steps you will need to take moving forward.

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