Family Law

Family Law News 2016, Issue 2, Volume 38, No. 2

Military Pension Division: Back Payments

Mark E. Sullivan

Mr. Sullivan is a retired Army Reserve JAG colonel. He practices family law in Raleigh, North Carolina and is the author of The Military Divorce Handbook (Am. Bar Assn., 2d Ed. 2011) and many Internet resources on military family law issues. A Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Mr. Sullivan has been a board-certified specialist in family law since 1989. He works with attorneys and judges nationwide as a consultant and an expert witness on military divorce issues in drafting military pension division orders. He can be reached at 919-832-8507 and

Payments from the Past

Former spouses are sometimes faced with the problem of collecting back payments from the military retiree as part of division of the pension. Usually this comes up when the military member retires and gives no notice to the former spouse, or when a general settlement is executed but no one pays attention to obtaining a military pension division order to forward to the retired pay center1 for garnishment till much later. The problem may also arise when the retiree gets improper advice from his or her attorney, or when an application for pension garnishment using DD Form 2293 is rejected. Even if the member retires and notifies the former spouse promptly, there will usually be a gap of several months or more when payments are not being made by the government. What should be done when there are arrears under a general judgment or property settlement, or when there are simply back payments that must be accounted for?

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