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Divorce and the Military: What You Need to Know

 

We constantly look with respect towards our military personnel. Some of these brave men and women sacrifice everything to protect the very rights and freedoms we hold dear in this great nation. We often forget that after, before, and during their active duty, these men and women also juggle personal lives. Relationships, finances, and happiness are not put on hold while they serve our country.

There are also many factions of the military, having a family while being an active member or stationed somewhere can be a strain on one’s life. Being in a faction of the military adds extra rules and restrictions to a person’s life. When it comes to divorce in the military there may be some stipulations different from regular citizenship. Knowing your situation and how the divorce process pertains to it will help ease this stressful process.

Residency Requirements and the USFSPA

Legally speaking, divorce applies the same way it does to any other non-military citizen. However, when it comes to residency issues when applying for divorce, many states will relax some of the residency requirements and stipulations allowing for active military personnel that are stationed around the country and remote places to file for a divorce in the place they are stationed.

Besides knowing the divorce process, military couples should understand and be knowledgeable about the United Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). This s a federal stature implemented for military personal that is a guide for potential divorce couples that have either one, or both, members in the military. It says that the divorcing spouses should look to accept the state’s specific divorce rulings and laws on specific issues in the dissolution of a marriage. Mainly child support, spousal support, and military/retirement pension plans. One important USFSPA stature is that, while states have always viewed retirement and pension plans as like any other marital asset, the USFSPA allows states to classify military retirement pay as property instead of income.

Pensions and Retirement: How Military Benefits are Handled in Divorce

Retirement payments through the military are paid directly through the Defense Accounting and Finance Service. For an ex-spouse to be eligible to receive retirement payments, the couple must have been married 10 years combined with an overlapping 10 years of military service. For example, if a couple have been married 14 years and 8 of those years either of the spousal parties have served in the military, then the ex-spouse would not be eligible to receive retirement payments.

Another situation to watch for is how different states view the amount of time a marriage has been deemed to last. Depending on the states view of when the dissolution of a marriage happened, it may change the length of official time your marriage has lasted for and, consequently, could possibly change what benefits you or your spouse are eligible for. However, not being eligible for direct payment as an ex-spouse does not necessarily mean you may not be entitled to a portion. Throughout the divorce proceedings, an agreement can be reached by the divorcing parties to divide a retirement/pension. Usually the awarding of retirement military pay may be in addition to child support or spousal support.

No matter the external situation in a couple’s life, divorce can cause major upheaval. With so many specific laws pertaining to where you are and how long you have been married, it is important to know the rules and regulations that may influence your divorce. At MyDivorceDocuments, we can provide insightful information to help you understand exactly what challenges, legal or otherwise you could possibly face throughout the divorce process. Visit www.mydivorcedocuments.com today and arm yourself with the knowledge that can lessen your stress about going through the divorce process.

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