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Property division, military benefits and pensions

For any divorce proceeding involving a member of the armed services, one of the biggest assets at issue could be the pension of the service member, if they have one. Like non-military retirement plans, military pensions are subject to property division in a divorce. Military family law addresses this topic with the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act. In this post, we will have a quick discussion of how this act governs the division of military pensions in a divorce.

Not all service members have pensions. For those who do, the act mandates a minimum threshold that must be met before the pension is eligible to be divided. The couple must have been married for at least 10 years before the pension in question can be divided. During this time, the service member must have performed at least 10 years of creditable military service. This rule is called the 10/10 rule.

Service members may also be eligible for health care benefits, commissary and exchange. Can these benefits be shared with spouses as part of a divorce? In some cases, they can. If a couple has been married for at least 20 years and the service member has performed at least 20 years of creditable military service, then federal law allows the non-military spouse to continue to access these benefits after a divorce.

Gulfport non-military spouses should not be bashful about pursuing these kinds of benefits when divorcing a service member. The law allows for property division and alimony to compensate a spouse for the hard work put into a marriage, as well as for opportunities missed.

Source: FindLaw, "Military Divorce and Alimony," accessed on Sept. 2, 2017

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