The life of a service member can be a difficult one for not only that person, but also the family. In many cases, the challenges faced – movement to a different base or deployment – are mostly out of the hands of the military member, but can be a challenge for the entire family. Unfortunately, when it comes to divorce, these types of issues unique to service members can also creep up.
One such issue involves military pensions and how they may be administered during a divorce. Much of the guidance on handling the process comes from the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. Much like civilians going through a divorce, a military pension will become part of the property division process, but how it is treated – community property or sole property – will depend on the state law that is governing the process.
A big considering is whether the marriage lasted 10 years during which the military member was active. If so, the spouse would automatically be paid directly by the Defense Finance and Accounting Services. If the marriage does not meet this threshold, however, the court may still grant the spouse benefits, but they would just be paid directly by the military ex-spouse.
Of course, a military pension is not the only unique issue that a military couple will deal with during divorce. Other benefits like exchange, commissary and medical benefits will also need to be addressed alongside more typical issues such as child support. Because of these nuances only seen in military divorce, it can be important to work with an experienced military divorce attorney to understand these details and seek the best post-divorce path.