Our firm concentrates in military divorce cases, and often we are called upon to help others obtain military retirement benefits. To obtain retirement benefits, whether it is with the military or any other company, the first step is acquiring the numerous documents that are involved. You should be looking for a Leave and Earnings Statement for active duty members, a Retirement Points Statement for Reserve and Guard Members, a Retiree Account Statement for retirees, the SBP election forms, any retirement orders and discharge papers.
Each state divides military retired pay and the SBP is the survivor annuity program which allows the former spouse to continue receiving a monies after the servicemember retires or dies.
Next, you will need to identify the system that active duty retirement occurs. It’s either final retired pay, High-3, or CSB/Redux. The Reserve or National Guard retirements are based on retirement points, not time, and the servicemember must have at least 20 years of good service to be retirement eligible. Active duty retirements pay out immediately upon retirement, whereas the Reserve or Guard retirements don’t until the retiree reach the age of 60.
You are allowed to choose a method for dividing the pension as well. When the pension is based on retirement from active duty, there are four acceptable methods for dividing it, fixed dollar amount, a percentage, a formula clause, or a hypothetical award. There are pros and cons for each, so it is imperative that your attorney evaluates which is best for your case.
There must also be 10 years of marriage overlapping 10 years of military service for the spouse to receive payments directly from the pay center. Otherwise, the payments come directly from the former spouse. Please consult the firm if you need assistance with the division of military retirement benefits.