Even with a short marriage of say, five years, the pension share is worth something. Don’t waive it without getting a trade.
Assume that the husband is a Sergeant First Class John Doe, in the pay grade of E-7, with 20 years of service, who will get an estimated $1,600 a month retired pay if he retires at the 20 year mark, which many service members do.
If there were only five years of marriage, his ex-wife would get 50% of 5/20 of $1,600, or $200 a month. If she is 40 years old when he retires and he were to live another 35 years, this would be worth $2,400 a year, or $84,000.
Lessons to be learned – If the servicemember wants a pension waiver, he or she will have to ask for it and pay for it. If the non-military spouse is asked to waive military pension division, he or she should do it for a reasonable, fair trade.
Consulting with an attorney knowledgeable in all aspects of military divorce law can alleviate the financial tensions faced by non-military spouses.