Protecting What Matters Most

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA)

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Divorce

There are many reasons that American servicemen and women find themselves getting a divorce. Some causes are related to time spent serving in the military, while others are the same common reasons that civilian couples end their marriages. Getting a divorce as a service member can require some special considerations.

When getting a divorce as an active or retired service person, it is important to know how pensions and benefits are treated. Being educated on the subject can help to make an informed decision that is free of surprises.

The 10/10 rule in a military divorce

A spouse can be entitled to a share of retirement benefits if the couple was married for 10 consecutive years while simultaneously serving in the military. These benefits are paid directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). If the couple was married for less than 10 years, the court may still award a share of retirement to be paid directly from the retiring spouse to the military spouse and not from DFAS.

The 20/20 rule in military divorce

If a couple has been married for 20 consecutive years while in active duty for the same length of time, then the military spouse could maintain certain military benefits. In addition to a portion of retirement payments, a military spouse could maintain military insurance, access to the commissary and the base exchange.

Bumping into your ex at the commissary or seeing your retirement payments reduced could come as a shock if not aware of the above two rules. Being informed is the best approach to any divorce, especially a military divorce.

When considering divorce as a person that has served in the military, there are many factors to consider. Having professional guidance that is experienced in military divorce in New York can help to ensure that your rights are protected.


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