What are my rights to retirement benefits in a legal separation?

My husband and I have been legally separated for 3 years. We are married for 34 year.Our children are adults. He has worked for the postal service for 18 years and retired from the military after 20 years. He’s 56 and I’m 54. How can I get 50% of pension and retirement benefits if we continue to be separated, and not divorced. Should i speak with a divorce attorney as to all of this? I’m in Raleigh, NC.

Asked on July 28, 2010 under Family Law, North Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you should definitely speak with a divorce attorney on this, and make sure that they understand how military retirement benefits work.  It is my understanding that you will receive 50% of the military retirement benefits accrued during the time of your marriage.  If he accrued 20 years worth then you get 50% of that.  The military works on a point system. 

As for his pension, it is considered a martial asset and will be divided under the laws in your state with other marital assets.  It is part of the "pool" so to speak.  North Carolina divides marital assets "equitable" but not equally.  There are many factors that are considered and length of marriage is a big one.  Seek legal help.  Good luck.

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