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What does the 10/10 rule mean for divorcing military spouses?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2021 | Divorce

In a divorce, pensions or retirement accounts are often hotly-contested assets because they have significant value and will impact someone’s quality of life when they get older.

For military couples, however, the process quickly gets even more complicated because of how confusing people find the 10/10 rule.

The 10/10 rule does not affect the division of the pension benefits

What people fail to understand about the so-called 10/10 rule is that it does not determine whether or not a non-military spouse has a claim to part of the military spouse’s pension. The only thing the 10/10 rule determines is whether the non-military spouse can expect the government itself to directly disburse their share of pension benefits. 

The New York courts or any premarital or post-marital agreement entered into by the spouses will still be the determining factor when it comes to dividing up a pension. The 10/10 rule only affects how the non-military spouse receives their portion of the pension. 

In order for the government to directly disperse pension benefits to a non-military spouse after a divorce, the non-military spouse has to have been married to the military spouse for at least 10 years and the military spouse must have been an active-duty service member for 10 years during the marriage.  

You may have options that you don’t realize are there in your divorce

Even if your marriage doesn’t meet those criteria, you may have a claim to some of your spouse’s pension benefits. You just won’t receive it directly from the government after the divorce. Military divorces have an extra layer of complexity, so don’t hesitate to ask questions as you go. 


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