Family Law

Military Retirement & Qualified Military Orders (QMO)
  • The marital portion of a service-members military retirement benefits are divisible in a divorce.  This is true even if the service-member has not retired at the time of the divorce, and even if the service-member is not yet eligible to retire at the time of the divorce.
  • If the Court awards any portion of the service-member’s future retirement to his/her spouse, and certain other requirements are met (such as the service member served for at least 10 years during the marriage) then a special order must be entered, called a Qualified Military Order (“QMO”) which directs the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (“DFAS”) to pay the spouse’s share of the monthly benefit to the spouse at the time the service-member begins receiving his/her share.
  • Even if the service member did not serve for 10 years during the marriage, if any military retirement benefits accrued during the marriage, then the marital portion of the asset may still be awarded to the spouse, but DFAS will not be required to pay the spouse’s share to him/her directly, and the Court will have to order the service-member spouse to pay the share to the spouse each month that it is received.
  • Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act, a former spouse can be designated as a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary of the service-member’s military retirement.  A Court may require a service-member who has not retired to elect this designation for his/her former spouse.  But if the service-member has already retired at the time of the divorce, and he/she did not already make that designation, the Court cannot require it to be done at the time of the divorce.  If the designation has been made, and the former spouse remarries before the age of 55, the former spouse will usually lose the designation.  But if that remarriage ends, the former spouse’s eligibility may be able to be reinstated.

Contact us now for consultation to see how we can help with military retirement issues.


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Combs Greene