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Complexities Surrounding Military Retirement and Divorce

Getting a divorce is difficult and it can be even more complicated if you are in the military and retirement benefits are thrown into the mix. A military divorce is no different from any other divorce, but there are some special factors involved that plays a role in the case.

Financial Matters

Most of the special factors evolve around financial matters, which includes discussing the division of pension and retirement. What makes this even more interesting is that under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, retirement pay is actually considered property instead of income. But under the act, to gain direct payments of military retirement benefits, you must have been married for at least 10 years that overlaps at least 10 years of military service. However, if you are not eligible for direct pay, you could still be eligible for some part of the pension, but the amount received is part of the divorce settlement agreement.

Different Payout Options

The non-present value option happens to be a common choice, which requires the military spouse to do a one-time pay out. The deferral distribution is another option, which determines the amount paid out during the divorce settlement, but the funds are deferred until the service member retires. The most common option among military divorces is the reserve jurisdiction option. This is when the amount paid out is determined and paid at the same time of retirement of the service member.

Speak With a Professional

A military divorce can bring unique challenges, especially when it comes to protecting your military retirement benefits. All cases and plans are different, which is why there are options. It can be a difficult time and you may not always be thinking about things clearly. This is why seeking professional advice will help effectively guide you through the complex process of military divorce.  

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