Military Divorce: Dividing Military Retirement Benefits

Navigating Unique Rules for Pension Division and Survivor Annuity

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
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Conducted on Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will prepare family law attorneys to identify the important issues that arise in dividing military pensions, such as navigating applicable federal laws and procedures, dealing with jurisdictional issues, choosing methods of pension division, and allocating the Survivor Benefit Plan.


Military retirement benefits often represent the most valuable asset in a military marital estate. Division of military pensions presents complex challenges due to unique rules that govern military retirement pay, applicable federal laws and procedures, and jurisdictional issues.

Identifying the appropriate methods of division for an active duty service member’s pension is essential. Counsel must anticipate issues involving a retiree’s ability to thwart pension division by election of disability benefits and utilize remedial measures through an indemnification clause.

Understanding the costs, benefits and implementation of the Survivor Benefit Plan in the event the service member predeceases the former spouse is also critical. Practitioners must know the deadlines for application, selection of the base amount, and who will pay the premiums.

Listen as our panel of expert family law attorneys discusses the complexities and unique issues associated with military pension division in a military divorce, and the best practices for addressing the related issues.



  1. Rules governing the division of military retired pay
    1. Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act
    2. Dept. of Defense Financial Management Regulations
    3. Jurisdictional rules in 10 USC 1408(c)(4)
  2. Methods of pension division
  3. Survivor Benefit Plan—options and rules


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What rules govern the division of military retired pay and where can they be found?
  • What are the methods of division for an active duty service member’s pension?
  • How can the division of a military pension be thwarted by a military retiree's election and how can this be remedied?
  • What are the rules for securing Survivor Benefit Plan coverage?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Wm. John Camp
Wm. John Camp

Westmoreland Patterson Moseley & Hinson

With a focus on family law, Mr. Camp counsels military and federal civil service clients in addressing their family law...  |  Read More

G. Brentley Tanner
G. Brentley Tanner

Sullivan & Tanner

Mr. Tanner represents clients in all aspects of family law involving service members and spouses. He has published...  |  Read More

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