When going through a military divorce, there are several special considerations. Custody issues can get tricky when one spouse has frequent deployments or duty station changes. One heavily debated topic surrounding the military community is the 10/10 rules.
It’s commonly accepted that a divorcing spouse “automatically” gets half of the service person’s pension after ten years of a military marriage. That’s not quite what the ruling means, though.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) acknowledges a limited number of considerations. Still, it doesn’t guarantee a former spouse is awarded any portion of a military member’s retirement. There are several other factors determining how a military pension can be divided, including:
- The former spouse must file for it.
- The former spouse must meet certain time qualifiers.
- The courts need to determine if the pension is marital property.
- The courts must award the former spouse a portion of the asset.
Instead of guaranteeing that a divorcing spouse gets half of a military pension, the USFSPA determines how one will be paid if the courts award it. The requesting spouse must meet the requirements and be awarded the pension before any actionable steps can be taken under USFSPA.
A pension is divided by a percentage of entitlement. Suppose the spouse is awarded half the retirement. In that case, they can have direct deposits made instead of waiting for the service member to pay the awarded portion. However, they can only do so with an appropriate court order.
The idea of dividing a military pension can be overwhelming. Many factors determine whether a former spouse is entitled to half of retirement, but there aren’t any guarantees. Suppose you’re facing a divorce with a military pension. In that case, you might want to learn more about the laws regarding military divorces to help you protect your legal rights.