Counting Down to #10 in Military Divorce Mistakes
In “Part 4” of Military Divorce Mistakes, I brushed over pension distribution and formulas with mistakes #8 and #9 of the countdown. If you or your spouse is a military member please do not use this brief summary as an advice guide. Every case is different. Seek the advice of an experienced family divorce attorney in person who can review your personal situation. Today, I’ll continue going down the list of definite “don’ts” associated with those serving in the military and divorce.
Top 15 Tampa Military Divorce Pitfalls
Continuing the list at #10, the most commonly made costly divorce errors to be avoided when seeking a military divorce.
10. Do not give assets in exchange for your military pension (immediate offset). Sadly, many military divorces are long term marriages where significant assets have been acquired. When there are no significant assets, the pension is usually distributed. However, in the past, if there were significant marital assets, many preferred the goal of separating the parties financially at that moment, forever, in order to prevent further litigation and give some finality to both parties. This meant the pension had to be valued by a qualified actuary and competent evidence had to be presented to the court or during mediation. The goal was to reduce the pension down to today’s present value, and then accomplish “immediate offset” by trading the military pension for other assets and separating both parties from further financial obligation. This seemed good at the time. Separate it all and part ways. However, with the advent of Acker v. Acker, 904 So.2d 384 (Fla. 2005), we need to reconsider that approach. Once pension assets are equitably distributed, the court may consider those assets distributed to a party in determining ability to pay alimony. Thus it is entirely possible that assets could be distributed to the non-military member, they could spend those assets, incur a medical condition, and return to court for an award of alimony payable from the military pension which was theoretically equitably distributed to the military member in exchange for those assets in the original divorce. A very costly mistake for what you thought was a simple and complete separation.
Next on Tampa Military Divorce
Next time in part 6, 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 military 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.