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Pensions are complex in divorce, especially for military members

Lakeville residents are familiar with the major military contributions made by the state of Minnesota. The Red Bull Infantry has been involved with myriad military operations over the past few years. Military members are dedicated and hard-working, but sometimes that service comes at a personal cost. Family life becomes a foreign dynamic to some military members, and when they return home, they can sometimes find their marriage isn't the same.

This can lead to divorce, and the rates for military members are notably higher than that of non-military members. In a 10-year window beginning in 2001, the military divorce rate jumped from 2.6% to 3.7%. A contentious part of military divorce is the pension a service member receives, and how it gets split after a military divorce.

Since military pensions have no minimum age, they have added value over other pensions -- and when you consider that an ex-spouse is permitted to half of those pension checks, it presents a very real issue for military members. The general population has to deal with division of pension as well, and sometimes this matter can be settled through mediation or a divorce agreement.

There are many different motions and appeals that can be made (in addition to plenty of paperwork) when dealing with a military or non-military pension. That is why legal representation is vital when going through a divorce. One piece of incorrect information can skew any pension appeal. An ex-spouse may not receive the money he or she is owed, or the party with the pension may miss out on some of the value of their pension.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Divorce: Splitting Up a Rich Military Pension," Ellen E. Schultz, Mar. 9, 2012

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