On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
Most Florida residents who are members of the United States military have a basic understanding of how their benefits are handled. For those who are preparing to divorce, it is important to take a closer look at how those benefits will be divided, as the outcome will have a lasting impact on the financial standing of both spouses. A recent U.S. Supreme Court case addressed the matter, and the ruling is the subject of debate among many military communities.
The case centered on a veteran of the Air Force and his former wife. At the time of their divorce in 1991, it was decided that the wife was entitled to 50 percent of her former husband’s retirement payments. When he retired in 1992, both parties began receiving payments the following year. However, some years later the man filed a disability claim and argued that his degenerative joint disorder in his shoulder was the result of his time spent serving the nation.
That claim was approved, and the man began receiving disability payments. As a result, the number of his retirement payments was reduced to comply with rules regarding “offsets.” That reduction also applied to his former wife, who lost $127 per month. She took the matter before the court, and it eventually made its way up to the Supreme Court.
At that point, the nation’s highest court ruled that the wife was not entitled to receive an additional payment to make up for the shift from retirement to a mix of disability and retirement pay. That means that the veteran will not have to pay his ex-wife an additional monthly amount. For spouses in Florida who are thinking about their own divorce needs, this information could emphasize the need to carefully consider retirement planning.
courthousenews.com, “Justices Clarify Benefits in Military Divorce Case“, Kevin Lessmiller, May 15, 2017