How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Allen M., Esq. Your Own Question

Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 15596
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
20011183
Type Your Military Law Question Here...
Allen M., Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I was married to an Air Force man for 14 years...we had 5 children.

Resolved Question:

I was married to an Air Force man for 14 years...we had 5 children. We were divorced in 1973. (I got custody of all 5 children). He paid me $400 a month child support and carried 3 of the children on his income tax until about 1982. The subject of his military retirement pay was not even addressed in the divorce decree. I did not know that I could get part of it.

We have each been married and widowed in the interim years. We are both currently single and, to my knowledge neither of his later 2 wives are receiving those benefits. I am widowed and living on my Social Security. My question is, has too much time passed or are there other factors that would make me ineligible to receive part of his retirement. With his retirement, he makes about 3 times what I do and I just wonder if spending 14 years and raising 5 children practically alone doesn't count for something.

If you can't answer this question, could you direct me to someone who can?

Brenda



Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I have nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines, including JAG.

 

Unfortunately, the law doesn't make 14 years of marriage automatically count for something. I know that's not what you would like to hear, but it's legally true.

 

All the law does is grant state courts the right to grant you a portion of military retirement, just like they can with civilian forms of retirement. In the civilian world, a person married to someone that earns a civilian retirement from the railroad or any other form of civilian retirement does not gain an automatic right to any of that retirement either. Their rights would be controlled by a divorce decree, just like your rights are.

 

So, the only way to obtain any right is to have a divorce court, the original divorce court, reopen the divorce and award you a portion now. That is the only method and is also the challenge, because courts do not like reopening closed cases, even when they are only a few years closed. In your situation, your case has been closed for decades.

 

You would have to establish that your ex or his attorney actually committed some form of fraud to keep you from obtaining a right to that retirement and you'd also have to show a recent discovery of that fraud in order to convince a court to reopen the divorce this late in time.

 

It is not legally impossible, but it is exceedingly difficult and you have to have the right facts to do it. I wish I could tell you differently here, but the law is strict on this issue. Only a court order can create a right for you, legally speaking.

 

 

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I suspected this would be the case...I was a pretty ignorant girl when I divorced my husband. The base legal officer did tell me I could get 2/3 of his pay but didn't mention retirement. I opted to only ask for $400.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that the base legal attorney failed you back then. It's unfortunate and we're seeing a lot of that these days.

 

Take care. As I said, I wish I could give you better news.

Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 15596
Experience: Lawyer and current JAG officer.
Allen M., Esq. and other Military Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • P. Simmons

    Military Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    11441
    Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Military Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    11441
    Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jaccorpsesq/2011-11-13_21141_JAnewphoto.64x64.jpg Allen M., Esq.'s Avatar

    Allen M., Esq.

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4035
    Lawyer and current JAG officer.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/marshadjd/2009-6-1_194320_marshajd.jpg Marsha411JD's Avatar

    Marsha411JD

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1149
    Licensed attorney and former Navy JAG serving ashore, afloat and at the OJAG
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OR/OregonLawyer/2012-6-20_82836_LarryMugShot16192012.64x64.jpg Lawrence D. Gorin's Avatar

    Lawrence D. Gorin

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    488
    Military & Family Law. 30+ years experience. USFSPA pension division expertise.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawInfoNow/2012-5-27_195417_JAprofilepicture.64x64.jpg LawHelpNow's Avatar

    LawHelpNow

    Attorney/Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    221
    Relax. Let's work together. Practical solutions.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/rcampione/2009-01-16_181009_bar-rc.jpg rcampione's Avatar

    rcampione

    Military Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    186
    Military lawyer - 5 years to the present
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JAGDefense/2010-02-16_041646_web_pix.jpg JAG Defense's Avatar

    JAG Defense

    Military Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    124
    CAPT, JAGC, USN (Retired); Former Military Judge; Specializing in Security Clearance Adjudications