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#772870 - 12/30/16 04:47 AM 20/20 question
Cbbt Offline
recently joined

Registered: 12/30/16
Posts: 3
Hi all,

We are about to file for divorce after 23 years of marriage, 24 of which he has served on AD. It's an amicable split and we are on the same page with regards to the division of our assets and the military benefits.

We consulted with a lawyer who advised us that the divorce decree will specify the agreed upon terms but that we would have to hire a specialist (another attorney) to handle the paperwork for each account. One account would be the TSP and the other would be the % of military retirement I (I am the spouse) would receive. She said it would be $1600 per account.

If any of you have gone through a 20/20 divorce, can you let us know if you had to hire a specialist to handle the paperwork. We are working with one lawyer as there are no points of contention in our split and we agree on the division. It could be that, because we are working with one lawyer, we need to hire an additional lawyer for the paperwork.

Thanks in advance for any feedback. Meanwhile we will keep googling!

#772872 - 12/30/16 03:33 PM Re: 20/20 question [Re: Cbbt]
TJMH Offline


Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 349
Apparently division of military retirement and TSP are complicated and unique enough that you need a specialist to make sure your settlement agreement contains the proper language for the government to administer the division. I didn't have TSP, but we hired a specialist to draft a QDRO for division of my military retirement. It's necessary to get the language just right so that my ex can be paid directly from DFAS.

The guy we hired for the military pension QDRO charged a flat fee of $850 to draft the QDRO and review the language in the settlement agreement, so $1,600 sounds a little steep to me. And even though it's specialized I would think the same attorney could do both the retirement and TSP orders. If you're in California PM me and I'll give you the contact info.

A couple of other items on military retirement to consider:

1. If you elected to take the Survivor Benefit Program, you should make sure that the order requires your ex to maintain it with you as beneficiary. Typically the SBP premium is deducted from "disposable military retired pay" prior to division.

2. If your ex is receiving VA disability compensation and is rated less than 50% disabled, the VA money is also deducted from disposable retired pay--meaning that your ex gets 100% of the VA money, and you split what's left according to the agreed-upon percentage. This presents an opportunity to the service member to increase disability rating and effectively get a larger share of military retirement compensation. You should look for language that adjusts your percentage of the split so that what you get is equivalent to what you would get if the VA money was not deducted. If your ex's rating is above 50% he's eligible for concurrent receipt so he'll get the VA money and you'll split the entire amount of his pension.

#772995 - 02/08/17 02:36 PM Re: 20/20 question [Re: TJMH]
Cbbt Offline
recently joined

Registered: 12/30/16
Posts: 3
Thank you so much for your feedback. We are meeting with the lawyer (finally) this week so your feedback is very helpful. All of this is so difficult but being informed will help a lot. I am in Washington state so will be sure to ask for state specific requirements. Thank you again.

#772996 - 02/08/17 02:40 PM Re: 20/20 question [Re: TJMH]
Cbbt Offline
recently joined

Registered: 12/30/16
Posts: 3
The additional tips you provided are very helpful. Our situation is unique in that we will be divorcing at his 24 year mark. He is set to retire in 18 months so he technically won't be retired. Therefore, he won't know his VA disability rating (should he be eligible). I will ask though how that should be formatted in the divorce decree. Thanks again.


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