3 Ways a Divorce Affects Your Military Pay

A divorce can be emotionally and financially daunting for those involved.

This is especially true for military couples because there are unique laws and procedures that are specific to military divorces.

These processes can affect the way assets are divided, as well as your military and retirement pay.

What Is The USFSPA?

It’s vital to understand The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), which recognizes the role of state courts and how they have the right to dispense military retirement pay to the former spouse.

While the USFSPA doesn’t immediately award a military member’s retired pay to a former spouse, it does provide a way to enforce payment from the Department of Defense in the event the court awards a portion of the retirement pay to the ex-spouse.

This can also affect child support or alimony.

Now that you know how the USFSPA works, here are the three ways that a divorce can affect your military pay:

1. Retirement Pay

If a military member has served for 20 years, they are eligible to receive a retirement pension.

The courts do not consider this income, but instead consider it property that can be divided.

Some people believe that the USFSPA requires a specific amount of military retirement pay to go to the former spouse during the divorce.

This simply isn’t true and dividing the retirement pay can be negotiated, whether it is a fixed amount or a specified percentage of the retired pay.

During the court proceedings, the division of military pension will be decided. While a former spouse could be awarded the entire retirement pay, the USFSPA will only pay up to 50% of the pension.

Any amount over the 50% will have to be paid out of pocket by the military member.

2. The 10/10 Rule

This rule states that if someone was married for 10 years or more and one of the spouses was in the military for that time, then a former spouse can receive their court-ordered portion of the retirement pay from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

The years of service and marriage do not have an effect on the total amount that a former spouse can receive from the retirement pay.

For example, a former spouse can request a portion of the military spouse’s pension if the marriage was less than 10 years.

They could have been married for 20 years and ask for even less of a portion of the retirement pay.

3. Child Support Payments & Alimony

If the court has ordered child support and alimony, the USFSPA allows direct payments to be received from the DFAS if an order form is sent from the courts or child support enforcement agency.

Military pay can also be garnished by DFAS if needed to make these payments.

Why It’s Important To Work With A Divorce Lawyer

If you are experiencing a military divorce, it is essential to know that military divorces can be very complicated and confusing.

At Stephen Foster, Attorney & Counselor at Law LLC, we can properly guide you through the process while working diligently to get you the best possible outcome.

Contact our law firm at (803) 386-7117 to learn more.

Stephen Foster