If you are married to someone who is in the military, and you are considering getting a divorce, you should be aware that there might be complications with military benefits. Whether or not you are able to keep some or all of the military benefits will depend on several factors, such as the amount of time you were married. A military divorce attorney can review the facts of your case and help you understand how the dissolution of your marriage might impact your benefits.
If you are curious about the implications of your military divorce on your benefits, you should get in contact with a family law attorney who is knowledgeable about representing clients in military divorces.
What Are Military Spouse Benefits?
If you are married to someone in the military, you are entitled to benefits that come with their service. For instance, you get a share of their healthcare benefits, commissary privileges, retirement benefits, and more. If you decide to get a divorce, however, you may or may not be entitled to continue receiving these benefits.
In some cases, you may be eligible to continue receiving benefits for the rest of your life, even after divorce. Whether or not you are able to retain these benefits depends on several factors. For instance, your benefits might depend on:
- The 10/10 rule: The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that outlines the retirement benefits to which you are entitled. If you have been married for ten years, and those ten years overlap with your partner’s service, then the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) will make direct payments to you.
- Terms of your settlement: Every marriage is different, and you and your partner might make decisions about the division of your marital property that other couples do not make. The final divorce decree will outline all of the information about how your property will be split, how your child support and custody agreement will be arranged, and what your healthcare coverage and benefits will look like.
- Discharges: There are a few ways in which someone who is in the military can be discharged. Whether or not someone is discharged and what type of discharge they receive might play a role in what your benefits will look like after your divorce.
- Survivor benefit plan: The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) allows you to receive a portion of the military retirement if you are a former spouse and your past partner passes away. Decisions about the SBP will be made in the divorce process and will look different for different couples.
Just like with civilian divorces, if you are going through a military divorce, there are also a whole host of other factors to consider. This includes spousal support payments and, if you have children together, child support and child custody arrangements. A military divorce attorney can help advise you and guide you through all of these aspects of your divorce process and more.
Q: How Long Does My Ex-Wife Get Half of My Military Retirement?
A: If your former spouse is eligible for military retirement benefits, they will receive them for the rest of their life. However, certain conditions must be met for them to be eligible. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) outlines a ten-year rule in which your military service and your marriage must overlap for at least ten years in order for the Defense Finance Account Services (DFAs) to pay your former non-service spouse a share of your military pension.
Q: What Benefits Does a Divorced Military Spouse Get?
A: There are many benefits that you might get as a divorced military spouse. For instance, if you were married for ten years, which overlapped with your former spouse’s military service, you can get a direct portion of the retirement for the rest of your life. You might also continue to access healthcare benefits under TRICARE if your marriage lasted 20 years and there was a 20-year overlap with service.
Q: How Does a Military Divorce Work?
A: If you want a military divorce, you need to file for divorce in your state. However, if you or your spouse are in the military, you might have to choose between filing in the state in which you are stationed and the state in which you or your spouse resides. You might also have to consider the division of military retirement benefits and address childcare plans that are complicated by deployments and other unique military circumstances.
Q: Will I Lose My Ex-Husband’s Military Retirement If I Remarry?
A: You do not automatically lose your ex-husband’s military retirement benefits in the event that you remarry. Instead, whether or not you lose his retirement benefits will depend on the divorce agreement that finalized the dissolution of your marriage. The decree will outline your division of marital property, including your former spouses’ military retirement. You will only lose this by remarrying if the decree states that you will.
Q: How Fast Can You Get a Divorce in the Military?
A: The amount of time that you have to wait to get a divorce in the military will vary based on the jurisdiction in which you are filing. For instance, many must wait a minimum of ninety days between filing their divorce petition and finalizing their divorce. If you and your spouse do not agree on how to divide your marital property and require mediation or litigation to sort out your affairs, this process could go on much longer.
Contact a Knowledgeable Military Divorce Attorney Today
If you would like to know more information about military divorces or get informed legal counsel about your unique case, our team here at Stange Law Firm can help you. We have over fifteen years of experience representing clients across the United States in complex military divorces and are well-versed in the process. If you are interested in how we can help you, contact our office to schedule a consultation.