Continuing the Military Divorce Mistakes Countdown to #5 & #6
Last time, in “Part 1” of this blog, I started with the top four mistakes I often times see clients make with their military divorce before seeking the advice of an experienced family divorce attorney. Today, I’ll continue going down the list of definite “don’ts” associated with those serving in the military who are seeking a divorce.
Top 15 Tampa Military Divorce Pitfalls
Continuing the list at #5 & #6, here is a list of the most commonly made costly divorce errors to be avoided when seeking a military divorce.
5. Do not distribute the military pension in a manner that is unqualified. With Certain regulated exceptions, you are required to distribute the pension only as one fixed dollar amount or as a percentage. A fixed amount is much more simple but may not represent a fully fair and equitable distribution, as it does not take into account factors such as cost of living. If the military member is already retired, then a percentage is pretty simple, however, with other members of the military in different stages of their career, it becomes much more complicated. This goes into the definition of “disposable retirement pay” and is best understood under the advice of a great family divorce attorney.
6. Forget to include an indemnification clause and alimony in your agreement, in case the military member becomes permanently disabled. Indemnification means paying losses suffered by another up to the point of putting that other back in the same state they were in before the loss was suffered. If the military member has a service related disability that was latent at the time of the dissolution of marriage because the member was on active duty, or it didn’t manifest itself until after the judgement, the member can file for a service connected disability and a tax free pension from the VA. If the disability is under 50%, the member must waive every single dollar of his regular pension, including your agreed upon distribution, in exchange for the disability waiver. When the member does this, you will lose 1/2 of the amount waived by the veteran in order to receive his tax free disability check. This monetary loss to you constitutes a unilateral modification of the property settlement post-judgment by the military member. If your divorce decree includes an indemnification clause requiring the member to not waive the regular retirement in such a fashion as to reduce the spouse’ share of the regular retirement, then you’re are protected from that loss, especially if alimony was awarded or you have retained jurisdiction (the retiree has not gone overseas). Read more about this issue in this American Bar Association article.
Next on Tampa Military Divorce
In Part 3, we’ll continue counting down the treacherous list of “don’ts” when considering a Tampa military divorce. If you are thinking of a divorce with military concerns, consult with a lawyer who has experience in collaborative divorce, mediation, and traditional adversarial divorce so you can receive insight on which type of divorce may be right for you. Seek out Tampa divorce attorneys with the knowledge you need. Seek out S. David Anton of Anton Legal Group.
David Anton is a third generation Tampa Bay attorney who has handled all aspects of dissolution actions since 1985.
To schedule your military divorce consultation, call the Anton Legal Group at 813-443-5249.