Military marriages in Massachusetts experience strains and stresses in greater capacity than other marriages due to the complications that their jobs put on both spouses. Though these marriages can be extremely stressful and difficult, the overall divorce rate among both male and female service members only averaged 3 percent in 2017. To be more precise, about 21,290 of 689,060 married troops divorced in 2017. The divorce process for members of the military is relatively uniform to those who are not in the service. The main difference for these individuals is how to divide their retirement plans.
Typical Military Retirement Plans
Retirement for members of the military is radically different for each member since not many individuals serve for 20 years, the requirement to get the normal retirement benefit. As a result, military retirement plans are made up of 3 components:
Defined Benefit: Retired pay is 2 percent times the number of years of service. For example, if you retire after 20 years you get 40 percent of your final base pay and if you retire after 30 years, you receive 60 percent.
Defined Contribution: The military contributes 1 percent of a member’s base pay to their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account. Each member is automatically enrolled with a 3 percent base pay contribution to their TSP and the government will match up to 5 percent of their contribution after two years of service. A member of the military must complete two years of service to receive government contribution.
Continuation Pay: After 12 years of service in the military, active duty service members receive a bonus equal to 2.5 months basic pay if they commit to four additional years of service.
Military Retirement Plans for Divorce Spouses in Massachusetts
Like other retirement plans and divorce, the amount owed depends on the number of years the couple has been married. To receive direct retirement payments as an ex-spouse, the couple must have been married for at least 10 years, with an overlap of 10 years in the service. A couple who has been married for 20 years with seven years of service would not receive full direct payment; however, a couple who has been married for 10 years with 10 years of service during that time would receive full direct payment. Military retirement plans for divorced spouses is more dependent on the number of years served rather than the amount of time married.
Contact a Massachusetts Divorce Attorney for Help
Massachusetts military divorces can be a confusing process since so many different aspects are involved. It is important to have an attorney who is experienced in this type of law to ensure that each party receives the correct amount of compensation.
Attorney Renee Lazar understands that minute details can make all the difference. Contact her at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.