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Service members retirement pay may be included in divorce

For many individuals in New York, finances ultimately guide long-term decisions. As one approaches retirement age, decisions such as whether to spend money on a new car, invest in a new boat or even take a vacation become important. These decisions can impact the amount one has going out each month while there is only a fixed amount coming in. Another important decision that can have a significant impact on finances is whether to file for divorce.

The decision to divorce often involves a number of financial considerations. Assets and debts are often divided and retirement accounts are affected. Rather than a traditional retirement account, some individuals receive retirement pay from their former employer. Retired service members fall into this category.

The Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act makes it possible for each state to determine whether the retired service member's retirement pay should be treated as sole property or joint property. It is up to the New York courts to determine how this retirement pay should be divided. There are a number of misconceptions such as the couple must have been married for 10 years to be eligible to receive a portion of the spouse's retirement pay. There are a number of factors involved in determining whether one is entitled to these funds.

For many New York residents approaching retirement age, the decision to divorce is both an emotional and a financial decision. Decisions regarding how assets and liabilities should be divided can have a tremendous impact on each individual. An experienced divorce attorney can help guide the individual through the decisions that need to be made.

Source:, "Veterans retired pay can be used in divorce, separation", David Anderson, Dec.4, 2016

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