Military Divorce FAQ

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Generally, no. You may be entitled to half of the marital share of his retirement, or the portion that was earned during the marriage.

No, the rule your wife is probably referring to is what’s known as the “10/10/10” rule. The Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) will only make direct payments to you for your share of your wife’s retired pay if your wife served in the military for at least 10 years, you have been married for at least 10 years, and 10 years of your marriage overlaps with 10 years of her service. However, that only applies to direct payments from DFAS, not your eligibility to receive a portion of her retired pay in the divorce. If you don’t meet the “10/10/10” rule, your wife will simply have to pay you your share of her retired pay.

Probably. If your husband elects to receive disability benefits, he usually must make a dollar-for-dollar waiver of his retired pay. Since disability benefits are typically not distributable in a divorce, this will likely involve a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your portion of his retired pay. To protect your interest in his retirement, your divorce decree should include a provision that requires him to reimburse you for the reduction in your portion of his retired pay.

Not necessarily. It will depend on the details of your divorce decree. An experienced military divorce attorney can craft your divorce decree so that your husband will only receive half of the marital portion of your disposable retired pay (which excludes disability compensation) at the time of your retirement so that you don’t have to reimburse him for his share of any waived retired pay.

It depends. If your husband elected a survivor benefit plan and chose you as the beneficiary then you will receive 55 percent of his retired pay. Your divorce decree should create an affirmative obligation for him to do so.

Unless your agreement specifies otherwise, DFAS will take the cost right out of your retired pay. Since the survivor benefits are for your ex-wife’s benefit, your divorce decree should specify that she is responsible for paying the cost of the survivor benefits.

Only if you are not going to remarry before age 55. If you remarry before you turn 55 and your ex-husband predeceases you, you will lose your survivor benefits. The survivor benefit plan can be reinstated upon divorce or death of your new spouse. However, in this case a life insurance policy might be a better option.

That depends on the wording of your military retired pay division order. If you are awarded a dollar amount in the order then you will not receive cost-of-living adjustments. If the order awards you a percentage of his retired pay then you will receive cost-of-living adjustments. Cost-of-living adjustments can equate to additional hundreds of dollars per month. You should make sure that your divorce decree and retired pay division order grants you cost-of-living adjustments.

Probably not. Just like disability compensation, Special Combat-Related Compensation benefits are generally not distributable during a divorce.

Probably not. While your wife would be entitled to half of the portion of your military disposable retired pay that accrued during your marriage, you generally cannot be made to pay spousal support with your disability benefits. However, if you have other sources of income, such as income producing property, that could be used to satisfy an award of spousal support.

If you and your wife have been married for more than 20 years during her military service you will be eligible to stay on Tri-Care after you have divorced. This is known as the “20/20/20” rule. To qualify, your spouse must have served in the military for at least 20 years, you must have been married for at least 20 years, and 20 years of your marriage must overlap with her service. In other words, she must have served for 20 years during your marriage. If not, you may want to consider a legal separation which would allow you to remain on your wife’s insurance policy.

Possibly. In order to prevent her from obtaining custody during your deployment, your divorce decree should state that your deployment is not a change of circumstances enabling her to modify the custody agreement.

His income, along with housing allowance, is considered income for the purposes of child support. However, his food allowance is not. Additionally, his housing allowance is not taxable so it will be appear on his tax return. You will need to evaluate his leave and earning statement to get an accurate depiction of his income.

That will depend in the law in your state. Generally, yes disability compensation is included as income for the purposes of calculating child support.

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