Once the difficult decision to dissolve a marriage has been made, the divorcing partners will either come to an agreement about how to best divide their assets or the court will make those decisions for them. While some assets are divided through the same process across the board, there are some components of a divorce that are unique to military members and are handled with special rules in a military divorce.
Military pension and retirement
If you are a military service member, active or retired, you are probably familiar with the concept of your DFAS-funded retirement account. In order for an ex-spouse to be eligible to receive any of these retirement or pension funds, the couple must have been married for at least 10 years overlapping with at least 10 years of military service. Divorce laws do dictate that the non-serving spouse is only eligible to receive a maximum of 50% of the military retirement pay.
Survivor benefits plan
Many people incorrectly assume that if they are the beneficiary on a survivor benefits plan during their marriage, they maintain that status after a divorce. However, this is simply not the case. Often referred to as an SBP, the survivor benefits plan is considered a mutually exclusive benefit that will be addressed in the final divorce decree. There are several factors that are considered when dealing with an SBP in divorce, many of which can be better explained by your attorney.
Military personnel and their immediate families might already be familiar with everything included in their Tricare coverage. A non-serving former spouse of a military member may retain Tricare coverage for a 12-month period, provided that they do not remarry, if they meet the following criteria known as the 20/20/15 rule:
- The ex-spouse was in the military for at least 20 years.
- The couple was married for at least 20 years.
- The marriage overlapped the military service time by at least 15 years.
The laws that govern military benefits are always changing, including those that govern how military benefits are handled in a divorce. You should work with a family law attorney who understands these laws if you are facing a dissolution of marriage.