Bay area Vet: My ex-wife should not get half of my retirement! | Families
Tampa, FL - Captain Glen "Gooch" Carson of Tampa, enlisted in the Air Force in 1987. He spent twenty years in the service before a bad back forced him to retire in 2007.
During that time, he got married and had two kids. After 15 years of marriage, Carson and his wife divorced.
When he retired a few years later, his ex-wife started receiving half of his military retirement for the rest of his life. That is thanks to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, enacted in 1982.
"For me to work 12, 16 hour days and go through a couple of wars, I don't see where she earned the $877 a month she's getting," said Carson from his South Tampa home.
At 42-years-old, Carson says he lost his home to foreclosure and filed for bankruptcy in the past year.
Down but not out, the captain soon realized he's not the only one in this fight. In anonline petition, more than 17,000 active servicemen and women and veterans are asking Congress to repeal this act and Captain Carson joined forces.
For the other side of the story, we turned to military divorce lawyer, Stann Givens of the Givens Law Group in Tampa.
He says, fairness is the philosophy of the original act. "I think Congress was concerned with someone living with a military member most of a lifetime then getting divorced and the military member has a retirement and the non-military member does not," said Givens.
Carson says, his service gave his ex-wife the chance to see the world and experience history. They were stationed in Germany when the Berlin Wall fell. They have the pieces to prove it.
This Spouse Protection Act, Carson says, leaves the military members without protection. Besides, he says he can be called back into duty, at a moment's notice.
"That's all I want, just the opportunity to get the money I've earned and the money that they're paying to keep me ready to go," said Carson.