Can an ex-spouse receive spousal support in addition to a share of the military member’s retirement plan?

By Carolyn Grimes
October 26, 2016

There's nothing prohibiting that. It depends on the income situation of the parties in addition to the retirement. In the Northern Virginia area, it's not uncommon. Military members of rank, especially, retire and receive very well-paying jobs in the private sector, and long-term marriages generally lead to spousal support in that scenario. Even if they're not of rank, if they're a tech specialist, they can receive jobs of substantial income and there's nothing that prohibits a former spouse from receiving spousal support in addition to a retirement share.

That’s not to say every single one is, but there's nothing prohibiting it. It's not that uncommon, depending on the income structure. Military members, bear in mind, start receiving their retirement as soon as they retire. They don't have to wait until age 65 like most civilians’ benefits.

You can have someone who went in the military at age 19 and have to have 20 years to get a pension retirement. They retire at age 39, they're drawing a pension, and they've got another job. It's not that unusual to request spousal support, and again, the particular income structure depends on whether or not a party will receive spousal support.

Carolyn Grimes is a family lawyer at the law firm of Wade Grimes Friedman Sutter & Leischner PLLC in Alexandria, Virginia. To learn more about Grimes and her firm, visit

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October 26, 2016
Categories:  FAQs

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