Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: March 12, 2012
Senate bill provides for fair division of military retirement in
To ensure that individuals seeking divorce only get the portion
of a military service member’s retirement shared during a
marriage, the Senate gave unanimous approval to Senate Bill 1887
Monday. The Veteran’s Benefit Protection Act, authored by
Sen. Steve Russell and Sen. Frank Simpson, makes the division of
military retirements, when a court has chosen to treat them as shared
property, more equitable.
Sen. Steve Russell said the measure was needed to prevent the unfair
division of such benefits in cases where the court rules those benefits
as property of the couple.
“This allows for a fair, equitable division to protect excessive
awarding of military retirement benefits to the former spouse of
a service member. While I cannot agree with the decision that military
retirements are anything but retainer pay, you unfortunately have
a common practice in Oklahoma courts that divides them as property,”
explained Russell, R-Oklahoma City. “You currently have cases
where someone is only married to a service member for two to four
years, but comes back after their former military spouse completes
20 or 35 years of service and is able to take half of that retirement.
This bill would prevent that and would allow only the years that
were shared at the rank of the service member when they were married
to be divided by the formula.”
Russell, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, also noted that the
measure does not affect him personally and that he has been happily
married to the same spouse for 26 years.
Having served 26 years in the U.S. Navy, Sen. Simpson has seen too
many cases where retirement benefits were unfairly distributed.
“This bill rights a wrong by making the division of retirement
benefits in military divorces more fair by creating a formula based
on years of service. Our system was wrongly allowing former spouses
of military service members to get too large of a portion of their
retirement regardless of how long they were married,” said
Simpson, R-Ardmore. “This measure will ensure that former
spouses still get their fair share in divorce proceedings, but not
beyond what the member was entitled to when the divorce was filed.”
SB 1887 will next be heard in the House.
For more information contact:
Sen. Russell: (405) 521-5566
Sen. Simpson: (405) 521-5607