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It is not unusual for one spouse or the other to be entitled to receive payments from a former employer after retirement from that employer. That employer could be private, government or even the military. Under Pennsylvania law, the other spouse may well have a claim to a portion of that retirement pay as it may be considered an asset of the marriage, even if it was earned only by one of the two spouses.

Our law requires that assets of the marriage are divided in an economically fair way. That way may or may not be to divide up the assets equally. In general, the court must be more generous to the spouse in the weaker economic position. In a complex, lengthy and expensive divorce, the judge will consider many aspects of the marriage and the economics of each spouse moving forward after the divorce is final.

Among the considerations will be the length of the marriage, each party’s assets and earning potential, education and job qualifications, the care of minor children if any, but not who has been bad and who has been good. It would be “strictly business”. In marriages of brief duration, consideration may be given to what each party was or could have been earning when they entered into the marriage.

Whether a non-military spouse is entitled to receive payments in the event of a divorce is determined by the parties coming to an agreement in an uncontested divorce, or by a judge making an order of court in a contested case. In either case, the department of the military service branch involved must be consulted and a Qualified Domestic Relations Order of Court or a professionally prepared settlement agreement may be required to make sure each spouse receives what is agreed or what the court orders.

If you have things to settle I can help you. I urge you to call me, Monday through Friday, noon to 3 PM, toll-free at 1-800-486-4070, BEFORE you begin your case, for an absolutely free consultation about your particular situation. Alternatively, you can read our free information guide which answers many questions you may have before your divorce.