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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

How the BRS system could impact military divorces

Military spouses in Tennessee who are planning to divorce need to be aware of how their divorces might be affected by the new Blended Retirement System, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. This system has the potential to change their divorce settlements.

Under the BRS system, military personnel will have the option to opt-in. If they do, they will receive matching contributions ranging from 1 to 4 percent for the contributions that they make to their retirement accounts. The matching contributions end when the military members reach 26 years of service. Under the new system, spouses might expect to get 40 percent of their former spouses' base pay instead of 50 percent, which could pose some problems for people who divorced in 2017.

Another problem with the new benefit is that since it is new, it will not have been included in the spouses' divorce settlements. People who already divorced will not be able to seek recovery of that portion since it will start after they were married. They also won't be able to find out whether or not their ex-spouses opted into the BRS.

Military spouses who are getting divorced might want to talk to experienced family law attorneys who practice in the area of military divorce. Attorneys may be able to explain how the BRS system could impact their divorce agreements. They may work to include provisions in the agreements that incorporate the benefits under the BRS system. With an attorney's help, the spouses might be able to ensure that they get the amounts to which they should be entitled from the military spouse's pension.

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