Military Divorce in Pennsylvania
Retiree pay and other considerations
Military divorce in Pennsylvania follows the same protocol as other divorces in Pennsylvania; however, there are other considerations to take into account. Certain protections and rights exist for service members who are facing legal proceedings. Additionally, retiree pay is a special area for military divorce in Pennsylvania. Currently, a bill is being considered by a Pennsylvania House Committee which may affect how military retiree pay is treated by the courts.
Rights and protections for military personnel
The Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act protects service members by allowing the temporary suspension of legal proceedings and/or transactions. This Act is intended to ensure that service persons' civil rights are protected and in no way prejudiced during their service. Aside from divorce, and other legal actions, this Act can protect service members during foreclosure proceedings as well.
With respect to retirement benefits, service members' pay is divisible in equitable distribution. Many veterans choose to convert their pay into disability in order to render the funds exempt, non-marital property. There is currently legislation under review that would allow greater discretion by judges to determine whether or not retiree pay is considered marital or non-marital.Current legislation regarding military retiree pay House Bill 1192, currently under consideration, could mean some changes for how retiree pay is handled in military divorce. The changes would allow judges some more discretion on how to treat it during equitable distribution; even deciding whether or not it should be divided at all. Presently, retiree pay is part of marital property and can be divided irrespective of the duration of the marriage or the duration of the spouse's service in the military. Because this benefit is not a typical pension, the Bill intends to modify the evaluation of how it is treated during equitable distribution in military divorce.
Rights of spouses of military personnel
Federal and state laws also protect the spouses of service members in divorce. Military spouses have certain protections to retain rights to property accrued as a result of a spouse's service. Some examples of this type of property include disposable retiree pay as previously discussed. Currently, military retirement pay which was waived or converted into disability payments is exempted from equitable distribution in military divorce in Pennsylvania. This is not considered marital property. Service members are not able to override an order to pay by changing pay into disability payments upon entry of the order.
If you need answers about military divorce in Pennsylvania or other divorce, custody and support matters, contact the Law Offices of Michael Kuldiner, P.C. Our Bucks County divorce lawyers can provide the guidance and information needed in military divorce and other domestic relations matters. Call (215) 693-6191 to schedule your consultation or complete the online form and a member of our team will contact you shortly.