A COAP is shorthand for Court Order Acceptable for Processing. This document is an order, separate from a Wisconsin divorce judgment, that the military requires to divide military retired pay between ex-spouses. When a military member is divorced, the court grants a judgment. The spouses’ property will be allocated in that judgment. Since a servicemember’s military retired pay is usually considered divisible property, a portion may be awarded to the civilian spouse.
The military does not accept a divorce judgment alone to divide military retired pay. A separate order, the COAP, is required. The COAP will specify the exact amount of retired pay awarded to each spouse, cost of living increases, method of payment, separation, etc.
The COAP must be drafted exactly according to military regulations. The slightest deviation may cause the COAP to be rejected. For example, military regulations permit direct payment of military retired pay to a former spouse only in limited instances. A COAP contradicting that rule will be rejected.
Drafting the COAP requires specialized knowledge. It is unlikely that your divorce lawyer will draft it, unless he/she is very skilled in this area. Usually, they are drafted by financial managers with specialized training. Because the military retired pay is often the most valuable asset in a Wisconsin divorce, it must be carefully divided.
The attorneys at Kowalski, Wilson & Vang, LLC routinely work with military members and spouses to handle Wisconsin military divorce matters. We are always available for a free consultation.