Monday, October 24, 2011

Colorado Finds Dividing Military Benefits Easier Said than Done

The Colorado Court of Appeals decided that a retired serviceman must divide his temporary disability pay equally. The couple had a divorce decree that split military benefits 50/50. The serviceman recently retired and was placed on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL). The court noted that the other spouse should not be punished because the service member was required to be placed on the TDRL and not receive longevity retirement pay. If a party qualifies for longevity pay and instead receives the TDRL pay, they will be required to pay a portion of that TDRL pay.


Here in Oregon, like in Colorado, a military pension or benefit may be considered marital property for the purposes of a divorce. However, as the Colorado court found, it becomes complicated when deciding how and what exactly to split. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) also tries to give guidance by allowing state courts to order the splitting of marital pensions. Oregon courts have developed some case law in deciding where the retirement pay and disability pay land, but there is still some questions left to be answered.


As troops begin to start returning from overseas, the federal government has numerous programs and policies to help those troops financially and support them when they decide to retire. A divorce can make that process extremely complex, that’s why service members need representation from attorneys like the ones here at Gevurtz Menashe. The attorneys here make sure to stay on top of the changes that happen in Oregon and around the country to make sure at all of our clients, especially those who serve our country, know exactly what will happen with their retirement and disability compensation during a divorce.