Retirement payments are paid directly by Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). In order for DFAS to make direct retirement payments to an ex-spouse, the couple must have been married 10 years overlapping with 10 years of military service.
For spouses who do not qualify for direct payments from DFAS, they will receive payments pursuant to a California divorce settlement agreement. Keep in mind that the award of military retired pay may be in addition to California child support and California spousal support.
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Former Spouse Military Pension Share
The former spouse military pension share is the amount a non-military spouse is to receive from a military spouse’s pension. The maximum amount the former spouse military pension share could be is 50% of the military retirement pay. Once the order is filed with DFAS, it will take approximately three months for the direct payments to begin if the military spouse is already receiving their pension. If the military spouse is an active military member, payments will begin ninety days after the newly retired member becomes entitled to receive their first payment. If child support is being taken from the pension, the maximum combined amount that can be deducted is 65% of the disposable retirement pay.
Military Pension Marital Share Calculation for Active Members
There are different methods of calculating the former spouse military pension share. The former military spouse’s pension share is stated as a percentage of the pension which an ex-spouse is to receive. The document filed with the court will need to clearly state the formula used to derive the amount to be paid to the ex-spouse. One of the more common trends is to count the amount of points accumulated in the marriage rather than months. This is especially true for spouses serving in the Reserves.
Net Present Value Method
The military member option to buyout the former spouse military pension share with a lump-sum payment.
The former spouse military pension share is calculated at divorce and the receipt of the funds by the non-military ex-spouse is deferred until the service member retires.
The former spouse military pension share is not determined but is calculated at retirement.
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