Counting Down to #8 & #9 in Military Divorce Mistakes
In “Part 3” of this blog, I kept it rolling with mistake #7 on a list of detrimental 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 and divorce.
Top 15 Tampa Military Divorce Pitfalls
Continuing the list at #8, the most commonly made costly divorce errors to be avoided when seeking a military divorce.
8. Do not use the wrong coverture fraction to divide a military pension. The basic distribution is 1/2 of the member’s disposable retired pay or retainer pay as defined by law. However, there are exceptions in each personal case and in the state of Florida code that may cause the military member to be unfairly shorted by this formula. In Florida, the amount of a retirement plan available for equitable distribution may not include any contributions made after the date of the original judgment of dissolution of marriage. But, if the member is active duty at the time of the divorce, the member’s military pension may be enhanced after the divorce based on his continued time in grade and promotions which, according to Florida law, are considered non-marital after the date of dissolution and therefore not subject to equitable distribution. When a member is on active duty at the time of the dissolution of marriage and not in pay status, dividing by “1/2 of the member’s disposable retired pay” can inadvertently increase the spouse’ share and unfairly weight equitable distribution of the pension. In this case, if those enhancements are not removed from the equation, the member would receive less than his share of equitable distribution of assets and the spouse would receive more.
9. Do not use the wrong coverture fraction to divide a reservist’s pension. Due to the wide fluctuation in retirement points earned by a reservist from year to year, you will need to get a point record for the member so you can calculate exactly how many retirement points were earned during each year of the marriage. Add them together and this is the portion of the member’s pension subject to review by law for definition (disposable retired pay) and division.
Next on Tampa Military Divorce
In Part 5, we’ll continue counting down the 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.