Can an ex-wife of 24 years come back into our lives and get some of my military retirement?

UPDATED: Sep 18, 2011

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Can an ex-wife of 24 years come back into our lives and get some of my military retirement?

I got a divorce 24 years ago. I didn’t have any representation at the time; I just signed what she gave me from her attorney. Unfortunately, this was a huge mistake. I was young and never thought I’d retire. I also was seeing a stress counselor because of the strain of the divorce and all the money she wanted me to pay. I paid child support for 16 years every month, paid her bills and paid for a car. Now she’s come back and says for the rest of her natural life I owe her 30% of my retirement. She’s a virtual stranger now. I don’tsee how she feel she deserves it? Should I speak with a divorce attorney? In Matanuska County, AK.

Asked on September 18, 2011 under Family Law, Alaska


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Do not beat yourself up any more about this.  And yes, you should seek help from an attorney in your area. I do not know after all these years if you will be able to fight this battle but you should try.  But please make sure that the attorney that you seek help from understand the laws that govern military benefits.  Military pensions are known as "retired pay" and the laws of the state in which the divorce is granted with govern if the retired pay is marital property.  If it is marital property then the attorney needs to understand how the system works.  Military pensions are based upon points earned.  How much of your benefit your spouse is entitled to depends on how many points you accumulated during the marriage.  Please seek help.  Good luck.

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