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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 19169
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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I am retired Navy (24 years, E9) and my ex receives half my

Customer Question

I am retired Navy (24 years, E9) and my ex receives half my retirement pay. Is there any way to have this revisited and have it changed?
JA: Are you overseas or stateside?
Customer: Stateside
JA: Have you talked to anyone in the chain of command about this?
Customer: I am retired
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: She doesn't need the money and was having an affair before she abandoned me.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

Unfortunately, the award of military retirement is not about need or being deserving. It is considered an asset division. So, it's not like alimony, which can be addressed based on the financial needs of either party.

Instead, it is looked at more like the division of equity in a home. If the home was bought and equity earned during the marriage, each gets half (at least, the court can choose to do so). The problem with retirement division is that it looks like alimony, because it involves monthly payments. That is because it is impossible to really determine the monetary value of your retirement...because it is based on the length of your life, which is not yet known. So, instead of a lump sum division, they do a percentage division.

So, the argument about her need isn't going to avail you any legal relief here, because retirement division (for military or civilian forms of retirement, where this happens also) is not based on need.

Your argument concerning adultery and abandonment certainly could and should have been raised at your initial divorce, but if you were divorced in a "no fault" divorce state, it doesn't really have to be taken into consideration and nothing in law requires that a court discount an asset division based on adultery.

Finally, to reopen a closed divorce for matters that are not about alimony or child support (need based awards that are intended to be revisited), you have to basically establish fraud that led you to relinquishing the right to make a particular argument during trial.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a three, a four or preferably a five star rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Please rate me based on my service and not on your satisfaction with the law, which I am not in control of and I am just reporting to you. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

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