Illinios Law Concerning Divorce & VA Pension

By Melanie Jo Triebel

Pensions can be one of the most contentious issues in the division of property in a divorce. In addition, they are often one of the most misunderstood aspects of the marital estate. However, Illinois law -- in combination with federal law -- provides clear guidelines for dealing with VA pensions in the event of a divorce.

Pensions can be one of the most contentious issues in the division of property in a divorce. In addition, they are often one of the most misunderstood aspects of the marital estate. However, Illinois law -- in combination with federal law -- provides clear guidelines for dealing with VA pensions in the event of a divorce.

Federal Law

Federal law permits a state court to treat a VA pension as a marital asset, and to divide that asset upon divorce. The federal government can also pay up to 50 percent of a military pension directly to a retired spouse, if so ordered by an Illinois court. Thus, Illinois courts are free to order the division of a VA pension in a divorce.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Illinois and VA Pensions

Illinois courts use VA pensions in a divorce in a couple of different ways. First, the portion of the VA pension that was earned during the marriage is treated as a marital asset, and that portion of its value will be apportioned or awarded in the divorce. The court will first let the divorcing spouses try to reach a property settlement themselves: if they fail to do so, the court will do so for them. Second, the court considers the VA pension as one source of income, which, together with other factors, figures into whether the court awards spousal or child support, and how much.

Division of VA Benefits in an Illinois Divorce

Illinois courts do not necessarily divide the marital estate, including VA benefits, equally between spouses. Instead, Illinois courts seek to divide property fairly, using "equitable distribution." Thus, the court will consider such factors as your age, your health, how long the marriage lasted, your income and employability, who will be caring for any minor children, and any other relevant factors. The court then divides the marital property, including the VA pension, in a way it deems fair.

Eligibility for Benefits Directly from the VA

A divorcing spouse may be entitled to receive her share of her spouse's VA pension directly from the government, if she satisfies the "ten-year-test." If the marriage lasted at least ten years, one spouse served in the military for at least ten years, and there were at least ten years where the two were married while one spouse served in the military, the test is satisfied. When the ten-year-test is satisfied, the ex-spouse is entitled to receive VA benefits directly. If not, her ex-spouse needs to pay her the portion of the VA benefits which she is awarded.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Pension Law for a Georgia Divorce

References

Related articles

Texas Divorce Laws on the Distribution of Pension Income

Before a divorce decree is issued, the court must first make sure any and all marital issues have been resolved, such as property division, alimony, child support and custody. Just like the home and family vehicles, pension benefits can also be split between spouses in a divorce. In Texas, whether your pension can be divided and by how much is determined by a variety of factors, including when you first acquired the pension and the balance before and after you married.

How to Split the Pension in a Divorce

Unlike other retirement accounts, dividing a pension is often difficult because it’s hard to place a value on what the pension might be worth in the future, and some pensions are not guaranteed until the employee spouse has worked for the company for a certain number of years. For example, in most circumstances, a military service member does not receive his retirement benefits until he has served for at least 20 years.

Is New Jersey a Community Property State When it Comes to Pension & Social Security?

During your divorce proceeding, the New Jersey court has authority to divide your marital property, including real estate, personal belongings and some retirement benefits. If you don’t want the court to divide your property, you and your spouse can mutually agree on a division and distribution of marital property, and the court may adopt that division. But New Jersey courts do not have authority to divide Social Security benefits.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Divide Pension Income in a Divorce in Illinois

Illinois couples must split their assets as part of their divorce, and these assets can include many types of ...

California Divorce Law & Pensions

Because California is a community property jurisdiction, upon divorce, each spouse is entitled to half of all ...

Pension Divisions During Divorce in Delaware

If you used a pension to save for the golden years with your spouse, she still might benefit if your marriage ends in ...

Illinois Pension Laws for Divorce

Allocating ownership of property acquired during a marriage is a fundamental part of every divorce. If you and your ...

Browse by category