When going through a divorce, a marital asset is defined as any asset that a party accrued during the marriage. For example, a husband’s retirement account that accrued during the marriage would be considered marital, while any portion of his retirement account that he accrued prior to the marriage would be considered non-marital. Therefore, when going through a divorce, the wife would only be entitled to the marital portion of the husband’s retirement account. The wife would not be entitled to anything that the husband accrued prior to the marriage.
Of course, with any legal issue, there are certain exceptions. Cue the Martin v. Martin case that came down on June 20, 2019 in Florida. This case specifically dealt with military service and how pre-marital military service credits could become a marital asset in a pension. What most people don’t know is that a member of the military is required to accrue 20 years of military service to receive military retired pay, which is the proper term for what people often refer to as a “military pension.” If a servicemember has less than 20 years of service, they are unlikely to receive retired pay. However, those years of service can be applied to certain defined benefit pension plans to enhance the value of the monthly benefit at retirement age.