Military promotion might not increase ex-wife’s pension share

The ex-wife of an Air Force officer might not be able to share in an increase in the officer’s pension benefits that resulted from a promotion he received after the couple divorced, according to a New Jersey appeals court.

The couple divorced when the husband was a captain. The divorce settlement gave the wife 50 percent of his military pension, which was based on his 11 years of service to that point.

By the time the husband retired, he’d reached the rank of major. His promotion entitled him to a larger pension benefit.

But the court said the wife couldn’t automatically share in the increase. Rather, it ordered a hearing to determine how much of the husband’s promotion was due to the couple’s joint efforts while married, and how much was due to the husband’s individual efforts after the divorce.