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What Happens to Military Retirement Pay in a South Carolina Divorce?

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C-17 Aircraft - The Peck Law Firm in Mt. Pleasant, SCWe are fortunate in the Low Country to have so many patriotic Americans serving our Country in the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy. As the son of a retired Air Force officer, I understand many of the challenges that military life places on a marriage. Unfortunately, some of those marriages end in a divorce.

Military divorces are different from civilian divorces in many respects. One of the more significant differences concerns military retirement pay.

If you are facing the possibility of divorce in Goose Creek, Summerville, or elsewhere in South Carolina, you may be asking: What happens to military retirement pay in a South Carolina divorce?


There are two answers to that question:

  1. You and your spouse can negotiate a divorce settlement that includes an agreement regarding what (if any) portion of the retirement pay will be paid to the civilian spouse; or
  2. Your divorce court judge can apply Federal law to determine what amount of retirement pay will be paid to the civilian spouse.

As a Goose Creek military divorce lawyer, I have had significant experience with the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. This Federal law contains the legal test for determining if military retirement pay can be divided as part of a South Carolina divorce.

Briefly summarized, a civilian spouse may be eligible to receive a portion of military retirement pay if:

  1. The civilian spouse has been married to the military member for a period of not less than 10 years; and
  2. The 10-year period of the marriage has overlapped with not less than 10 years of military service creditable to retired service.

If you and your spouse qualify under that standard, you should consult with a local Goose Creek military divorce attorney to determine what your respective rights may be and what statutory factors may limit the amount of military retirement pay to be divided in a divorce or legal separation.

There are many military retirement pay issues that you should discuss with your military divorce attorney in Goose Creek. You may want to start your conversation by asking:

  • Can a South Carolina divorce court divide military retirement pay before the military spouse retires?
  • What is the maximum amount of military retirement pay that a civilian spouse can be awarded in a divorce or legal separation?
  • How could a prior divorce affect the amount of military retirement pay to be divided with the civilian spouse?
  • Can alimony or child support be paid from military retirement pay as part of a divorce or legal separation?

I will be glad to answer any question that you may have regarding alimony, child custody, child support, legal separation, equitable property division, or other military divorce law matters.

I am pleased to represent active duty and retired military throughout the Low Country – including those who live in Charleston, Daniel Island, Goose Creek, James Island, Johns Island, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville, and West Ashley.

If you are involved in a military divorce or legal separation in the Goose Creek area, please call me now at 843-631-7117 or use the contact form to ask your military divorce questions. I am ready to help you.

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About Ken Peck

I have been a family law attorney for more than 30 years. At The Peck Law Firm, I use my extensive experience to help those going through a divorce. Before anything else, I listen to my client's needs. Then, I explore their options and help them make the decisions that will create a brighter future for themselves and their families. Ken Peck's Google+ Profile

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