Maximizing Your Military Pension: Tips for Divorcing Service Members in CO

Divorce is a challenging process for anyone, but for military service members, the complexities can be even more daunting. Among the many concerns that arise during divorce, the fate of your military pension is a significant one.

In Colorado, as in many states, the division of assets, including military pensions, follows specific guidelines. In this blog, we’ll explore actionable advice for service members navigating divorce in Colorado, emphasizing the importance of building a strong defense with an experienced family lawyer.

Understanding the Unique Challenges

Military pensions are considered marital property and are subject to division during divorce proceedings. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) provides a framework for the division of military pensions in divorce, allowing states to treat military retirement pay as marital property.

While Colorado law follows these federal guidelines, there are unique considerations specific to the state that service members must be aware of.

Tips for Maximizing Your Military Pension in Colorado

Understanding the intricacies of military pensions, including the division process, is crucial. Familiarize yourself with the USFSPA and Colorado’s specific laws governing divorce and property division. Knowledge is your first line of defense.

Hire an Experienced Family Lawyer

Given the complexity of military divorces, seeking professional legal guidance is essential. An experienced family lawyer with a background in military divorce cases can provide invaluable assistance. They understand the nuances of military pensions and can advocate for your rights effectively.

Build a Strong Defense

When it comes to protecting and maximizing your military pension, having a robust legal defense is paramount. Your lawyer will help you gather the necessary documentation, such as your military pay statements and retirement plan details, to present a comprehensive case.

Consider the 10-Year Rule

The 10/10 rule is significant in military divorces. If the marriage and military service overlap for at least ten years, the non-military spouse may be eligible to receive their share of the pension directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Understanding the implications of this rule can impact your negotiation strategy.

Explore Mediation and Collaboration

Divorce proceedings can be adversarial, but alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaboration can be more amicable and cost-effective. Collaborative divorce allows both parties to work together to find mutually beneficial solutions, potentially preserving the value of the military pension for the service member.

Factor in Disability Benefits

If the service member is entitled to receive military disability benefits, it can impact the division of the pension. Disability benefits are typically separate property, and understanding how they interplay with the overall settlement is crucial.

Consider a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)

A QDRO is a legal document that divides retirement benefits between divorcing spouses. It’s essential to work with a lawyer familiar with military pensions and QDROs to ensure the order complies with both federal and state regulations.

Plan for the Future

As part of the divorce settlement, consider including provisions that address potential future increases in military pay or cost-of-living adjustments. This forward-thinking approach can help protect your financial interests down the road.

Military Divorce Lawyer COlorado SPrings

Military Divorce Legal Representation In Colorado

Divorcing as a military service member in Colorado requires careful navigation of both state and federal laws governing the division of assets. Maximizing your military pension involves a combination of legal knowledge, strategic planning, and proactive decision-making.

By enlisting the expertise of an experienced family lawyer and following these actionable tips, you can build a strong defense to protect your financial future during and after divorce. Remember, the key to success lies in being informed, proactive, and having a reliable legal ally by your side.


About the Author:

Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.