My ex-husband passed away in 2006. We were both military, he was retired from reserves and we were married for 22 years and divorced 1 year prior to his death. Can I collect his pension?
State/Country relating to question: Colorado
Tried to contact the military, but they say no. How can this be?
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.The only way a former spouse can collect a portion of the pension after divorce is if the divorce court had ordered that SBP be purchased by the retired service member. SBP (survivor benefit program) is an insurance product that is paid for out of retired pension. Like any insurance policy, it has a premium and a beneficiary. The rules for SBP allow coverage of a former spouse, after divorce IF...and this is the key...if the divorce court orders it.So in your case, unless the divorce court ordered that SBP be purchased, there is no way to collect from his military pension.Sorry to have to bear bad news.The only other source of a pension would be through the Veterans Administration. But under VA rules, once you divorce you are no longer eligible for a widows pension
Is there any way to appeal this?
There is not. That is since the law that covers this (Title 10 US Code) was passed by Congress. The only way to change it is if Congress changes the law.Again, sorry to have to bear bad news.
What if I can prove he was not of sound mind when the divorce was recorded? He had a massive brain tumor.
That will not matter. If the divorce is final, the only way to achieve SBP (the insurance product) is with a court order.There is no exception in the law for this.The only way to get SBP now would be if you could convince you Congressman to change the law.Again, sorry to have to bear bad news.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).