Military Retired Pay: Reserve vs. Active Duty

In order to properly calculate a servicemember’s military retired pay in a Wisconsin divorce, you must be aware of the difference in reserve vs. active duty retirement. Military regulations require that retired pay for servicemembers retired from active duty is calculated based on months of service. Members who retire from the reserve calculate retired pay based on points.

Because most reservists have military duties only at certain times of the year, military regulations do not grant full credit for the entire year. Instead, reservists receive points based on time spent and tasks performed.

The value of retired pay must be calculated according to the correct type of retirement. The military must receive an order (separate from the divorce judgment), known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, that specifies the exact amount awarded to the former spouse. That order must reference the correct “regime” and calculation–whether active duty (months of service) or reserve (points). If the order is not correct, it will not be honored or processed by the military.

Attorney David Kowalski has handled many Wisconsin military divorce cases. Most involve division of military retired pay. Servicemembers and their spouses are encouraged to schedule a free consul to ensure this valuable asset is handled correctly.

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