If you or your spouse are a retired service member that is divorced or divorcing, I have some news for you: in Arizona, the benefits that are received for military retirement can, and likely will be divided, in part, between you and your (soon-to-be) former spouse. That is because Arizona is a Community Property State, which in a nutshell means that any property interest acquired by either spouse during the time of the marriage belongs to both people and at divorce can be split in half.
“But what does this have to do with military retirement?” I’m glad you asked. Retirements and pensions are viewed by Arizona as a property during a divorce… I can see you connecting the dots: If retirement is property, and that “property” was acquired through military service while we were married, then each party can claim a property interest in the retirement.
If you did not know about this before, this news may be a bit troubling, but I have some good news that is disguised as a headache. Just like every time you or your spouse dealt with S-1 (Admin clerks), nothing that the military does is simple. The benefits that you or your spouse, do or will eventually, receive as a retired Veteran can be: Military Retirement Benefits; TSP disbursements; Medical Retirement; VA Disability Compensation; Temporary Early Retirement; Super Secret Squirrel Hush Money,…the list goes on.
Just like there are many ways for Uncle Sam to say, “thank you for your service”, the Arizona Courts have many ways of telling you that you and your former spouse need to share those benefits. Division of Community Property-as I spoke about earlier-, Spousal Maintenance (commonly known as alimony), and Child Support.
The importance of exactly how, and what, you get paid cannot be understated, as is fully understanding what an Arizona Court can order that you pay. While Federal and State laws provide protections for the spouses of Veterans (i.e. community property interests in retirements), there are also laws that protect Veterans from losing their much needed and hard earned benefits.
If you don’t know what laws affect your various benefits from the military, a slick lawyer could have you sign away benefits that you are rightfully entitled to. Additionally, if you and your lawyer don’t understand the complexities of Military benefits and how Arizona and Federal laws treat each benefit, you won’t be able to protect your rights and claims to them.
The attorneys at RPM Law know how the laws treat your benefits, what you will need to pay, and how to protect your claims to them. Call us at (520) 740-1802, schedule a consultation, and see how dedicated we are to protecting your interests.