Divorce in the Military

by | Feb 20, 2023

If you’re a current or former member of the armed forces, chances are you’ve been trained for some of the most grueling and demanding situations out there. What that training doesn’t do, is prepare you for the challenges of a military divorce. Even for civilians, divorce is a complex and difficult process. For military personnel, the added government benefits and rules for marriage length, for example, can make the process even more confusing.

Save yourself a headache and get familiar with the unique factors affecting military divorces, so you don’t end up making a costly mistake. Here’s some of what you need to know.

1. Military pensions may be considered marital property if they were acquired during the marriage.

Some military benefits such as VA Disability Payments and Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) do not qualify as marital property, while other types of pay can be divided.

2. The length of your marriage and the length of military service regulates what medical and other benefits your partner is entitled to.

One federal rule, known as the 20/20/20 rule, determines that your ex-spouse is entitled to military benefits, (so long as they don’t remarry nor enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan), if you served for 20 years, were married for 20 years, and those two periods overlap.

Another federal rule, the 10/10 rule may also be in effect here.

3. Wait, there’s a 10/10 rule?

Don’t panic. This is why we are here. If you were married for 10 years and served for 10 years during that time, your spouse is entitled to direct payments from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Keep in mind, this rule only affects where the payments can come from.

4. Your spouse has financial protection under the Uniform Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA).

Disposable retired pay could be counted as marital property under this Act. Understanding what you and your spouse are entitled to, is crucial information to have during the negotiation process. If this all sounds confusing, it only highlights why involving a military divorce financial specialist is so important in these matters.

There are a lot of factors in a military divorce. Don’t go this alone. As we say at Sand Oak Divorce Solutions, “You only have one chance to get it right! No do-overs, so let us help”.

Call our office at (850) 252-6325 to schedule your 30-minute initial strategy session.


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