Four Myths Exposed About Divorce in the Military

Divorce is always complicated, but a military divorce can be even more complicated than a civilian one. Part of the problem is that there are a lot of urban legends and misinformation about topics like military pensions. If you or your spouse are in the military and you’re considering divorce, it’s important to have a Huntsville Divorce Attorney on your team with experience handling military divorce cases.

In this blog entry, we identify five common misconceptions regarding military divorce.

  1. It requires 10 years of marriage for a spouse to be eligible for a share of pension.
    There is not a minimum number of years of marriage requirement for a spouse to be eligible for a portion of a military pension. The 10-year overlap of marriage in military service is only relevant in determining where the payments come from. If there is an overlap, the payments come from the DFAS. Without an overlap, they come from the former spouse.
  2. Federal law dictates the amount of pension and retirement benefits a former spouse should receive.
    There is no such federal law. Federal law makes it possible to divide a pension, but it doesn’t lay out any specific amounts or percentages.
  3. Retired pay is retired pay; there’s no difference between disposable retired pay and gross retired pay.
    There can be significant differences between the two. Disposable retired pay excludes VA disability compensation, medical retired pay, and other compensation. It makes a difference—maybe a big difference—whether a divorce agreement specifies a percentage of gross retired pay or disposable retired pay.
  4. A divorce settlement that’s based on percentage of military retirement pay is adequate.
    A divorce settlement based on a percentage of military pay leaves out cost-of-living adjustments. This could be a significant factor. A better way of calculating the settlement is as a percentage of the military pay.

Questions or comments about this subject? Are you considering divorce and want to know more about how you or your spouse’s military service will impact the process? Give us a call and Contact Us today and let’s discuss your situation!