Divorce matter military disability pay excluded from marital estate
Representing husband. The parties were married for 35 years, with two adult children. The husband served in the military and was stationed in Vietnam prior to the marriage. The husband received a military retirement pension as a result of his service and was later determined to be 100% disabled, at which time he commenced receiving disability pay in lieu of retirement pay. At the time of the divorce the husband was receiving disability pay as well as a firefighter’s pension, each of which were providing a stream of income to the parties. The wife argued that she was entitled fifty percent of the pension and disability pay. Husband argued successfully that pursuant to federal law, states are prohibited from treating disability pay as a martial asset subject to division, and thus the husband was entitled to retain the entire pension.