How are military pensions and benefits handled in divorce?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2021 | military divorce |

There are some differences between military divorces and civilian divorces that it is helpful for divorcing spouses in the military to be familiar with. If one or more of the spouses is in the military, the couple should be familiar with how military benefits and military pensions are handled during a military divorce once they have made the decision to divorce.

Military pensions during military divorce

Military pensions are subject to the divorce process during divorce. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that allows for military pensions to be treated as either community property or separate property depending on the property division laws in the state where the military couple is divorcing.

The 10/10 rule also allows for payment of the former spouse’s share of the military pension or retirement to be paid directly to the former spouse if there were at least 10 years of the couple’s marriage that overlapped with 10 years of military service.

Other benefits during military divorce

Additionally, former spouses of military personnel and former military personally may also be eligible for full medical, commissary and exchange privileges following their military divorce if certain requirements are met. These requirements include that:

  • The couple was married for 20 years or longer;
  • The service member performed at least 20 years of creditable service toward retirement pay; and
  • There was at least 20 years of overlap of the couple’s marriage with the military spouse’s military service.

Military couples may have concerns during their divorce process that are different from civilian divorces. They likely also have some of the same concerns such as property division, spousal support and child custody. For that reason, it helps to be familiar with some of the unique challenges of a military divorce and how they are addressed by the legal process.