Q: Is there a form I can use to divide a military pension between my spouse and myself?

A: No, a judge would need to issue pension division order.

Q: Will my spouse be able to take half of my military pension?

A: Potentially. How much of your military pension, if any, that your spouse could be entitled to depends on a series of factors, including your years of service, the number of years you were married to your spouse, and the amount of time your marriage overlapped with your military service. Based on those factors, the court will decide how to “equitably divide” your pension. A lawyer with experience in military divorces can advise you on what your spouse is likely entitled to.

Q: If we divorce, will my spouse automatically be entitled to the military survivor’s benefit plan?

A: In regards to the Survivor Benefits Plan, the annuity that pays the spouse or former spouse upon the death of the service member, the answer is “not automatically.” Military pensions will terminate upon the death of the service member/former service member. Through a settlement agreement, you could agree that your former spouse will be entitled to your survivor’s benefits. Additionally, any superior court judge assigned to your divorce case could issue an order that your former spouse is entitled to those benefits. But in the absence of an agreement or court order, the benefit plan does not automatically transfer.

Q: I have orders to deploy overseas. My girlfriend just had me served with a lawsuit to establish court-ordered child support. Is there anything I can do to delay this action?

A: The Federal Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows service members under deployment orders to postpone or delay pending civil actions. However, this does not mean you can have an action dismissed. You can only have it “stayed” until you return provided you submit the required proof to the court. Furthermore, it may not benefit you to delay an action. You should speak with an attorney with knowledge of military civil actions, such as child support, to see if it is in your interest to invoke the SCRA.

Q: I receive military retirement benefits paid directly by my former spouse, he/she is not including COLA increases. What can I do?

A: There may be more than one way to force your ex to provide you a portion of the COLA increase. The surest way would be to file an action with the court for contempt, provided your order included a COLA adjustment.

Q: Is child support calculated on my base pay only or is it also based on the monies I receive for housing and subsistence?

A: Under the Georgia law regarding child support, O.C.G.A. §19-6-15, the gross incomes of the parents are primary data points used to calculate child support. In regard to military pay, all monies the service member receives, to include but not limited to base pay, BHA, BAS and COLA, are to be added up to determine the service member’s gross monthly income.

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