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New military retirement policy may affect divorce agreements

This year, the United States military will make a shift in how it offers financial benefits to enlisted service people. The new format, called the Blended Retirement System, offers a different set of benefits from the previous legacy plan. For military employees in Florida with less than 12 years of experience, they will have until the end of next year to decide whether they choose to enroll in the new program or stick with the old one. The change has at least one person speaking out about potential pitfalls of the program as it relates to divorce

The BRS will reduce the pension benefit of the service person, but it makes them eligible for a Thrift Savings Plan. The Department of Defense will contribute automatic and matching funds to the TSPs. The new plan also allows for mid-career bonuses to be given out to individuals. 

The problem, as one man sees it, is that military couples who were divorced this year have made arrangements for the division of property based on the old plan. The service person now has the ability to choose a new plan, which will reduce the pension, and may reduce the amount of pension paid to the ex-spouse. The ex-spouse will not necessarily be notified of this change, and the lowered share of the pension may come as a surprise. 

The issue will likely only apply to those military service people stuck in the gap between plans. Any person who thinks that the changes may affect his or her divorce might be wondering what he or she can do before the changes are final. In Florida, a person may choose to consult an attorney for guidance on the new pension plan and how it may affect his or her divorce. 

Source: AmeriForce Media, "BRS and Military Divorce", Oct. 11, 2017

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