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Military Pensions- How Are They Handled in Divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2020 | Family Law, Firm News

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Filing for a Military Divorce in New Jersey

“What’s yours is mine” is a common phrase that often relates to marriage. In fact, if you are married and consider everything that you own together, you might be surprised at just how intertwined your lives are.

Couples that have been married for a long time will have to deal with the usual division of assets including property and finances. However, some situations, like pensions and retirement accounts, can make things even more difficult to figure out. If you have a military pension that you earned from serving in the military, then you might question what happens to it in the event of a divorce.

Determining the Rights to a Military Pension

A military pension is given at the age of retirement to an individual who served in the military. The amount of the pension will depend on many factors including:

Rank and Time Served

The individual’s rank and time served will affect the amount of the pension. Individuals who are active for more years will usually have a higher pension than individuals who were active for a few years.

Age of Benefits

It is also up to the retired military member to determine when they want to activate their military pension and benefits. Some retirees may choose to cash in as soon as they are eligible whereas others might choose to offset their funds until they can receive a higher amount.

The age of the spouse can also dictate whether or not they are eligible to the military pension. A divorced spouse who remarries before retirement age, which is typically considered 55, may lose all eligibility to the funds.


Because state laws typically dictate divorce rules, the location in which the divorce is filed will also make a difference. In most cases, the state in which the spouses live will handle the divorce but military members who are active may be living in a different state or even overseas. If more than one state is present, the couple may need to choose which state to handle the divorce proceeding.

Determining Military Pension Eligibility Amounts

While New Jersey does recognize equal rights between spouses, they are also an equitable distribution state. This means that when dividing assets, the division should be fair, but does not necessarily need to be equal. The court will evaluate multiple factors and consider who gets what. They might look at things like:

  • The length of the marriage
  • How long it has been since the divorce
  • The amount of the military pension
  • Other assets that are shared by the couple

The court may also consider the spouse and their role while the other was on active duty. For example, if one spouse raised the children or gave up their career to support the other’s, they may be eligible for a higher percentage of the military pension.

Working with a New Jersey military divorce lawyer will ensure that your rights are protected during your divorce. A family law lawyer can assist you in understanding your divorce rights while navigating you through the difficult legal system.

Contact a Pemberton Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of property, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The Law Office of Stephen R. Piper, LLC represents clients throughout the state, including Mount Laurel, Burlington Township, Willingboro, and Pemberton. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 856-333-3586 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.