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Advocacy groups want to revise military divorce laws

Life in the military can be difficult. It can be trying for not only those serving, but the families by their side. That is why military divorce is a unique type of divorce in and of itself. As such, there is recent pressure for the military to revise its divorce law in order to better protect soldier's retirement benefits.

Advocacy groups are attempting to get the 1982 Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) revised so that soldiers are no longer subject to the federal law that essentially allows a former spouse lifetime alimony from the soldier's retirement pay. This alimony currently does not even stop after the ex-spouse remarries or finds themselves in a successful career where alimony payment is no longer needed.

Opponents to revising the law argue that they are entitled to the benefits due to the contributions that they made in sacrificing with their ex-spouse for the military and the country. The frequent relocations and difficulties placed on military spouses are cited as reasons that they feel entitled to a portion of those retirement benefits.

The problem that those who seek to restructure the law have with it is that a military pension is one of the greatest benefits received for those who serve and there is no minimum time limit that a couple needed to be married prior to the ex-spouse qualifying to share in a portion of that benefit. Under the law, the ex-spouse is entitled to half of the benefits accrued during the time served while the marriage lasted, whether one year, 10 years, or over the 20 year threshold.

No matter what the outcome of these advocacy groups attempt to revise the law, military divorce carries with it unique concerns and complications that arise from its own laws. Contacting an attorney who practices in the area of military divorce can help when trying to figure out how to best protect your accrued assets while going through this difficult process.

Source: News Max, "Military Divorcees Aim to End Lifetime Alimony Rules," David Yonkman, Feb. 18, 2012

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