Although the legal process of divorce between the military is the same, there are some additional aspects that must be taken into consideration; for example, the dissolution process can take much longer if you are on active duty or have a permanent station abroad, in addition, military couples should be well informed about the role of Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act.
The USFSPA provides a federal statute for the military, guiding them to accept state regulations in handling issues such as child support, spousal support, and military retirement pension. While states have always had the authority to treat retirement and pension plans, like any other marital asset, the USFSPA allows states to classify military retirees as property, as opposed to income.
It is important to mention that retirement payments are made through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, this means that for a military member to be able to provide direct retirement expense to a former spouse, the couple must have been married 10 years of overlapping and another 10 years of service. Depending also on the date of division of the state, the amount of time you have been married can be judged by different criteria; this means that in another state you can be married 9 years, while California considers that your marriage lasted 10 years.
The maximum amount of pension income an ex-spouse can receive is 50% of the military retirement pension, and once the order is submitted with DFAS, it will take three months for direct payments to begin to be provided to the former spouse. In the active military situation, payments will begin 90 days after the newly retired member is entitled to receive their first payment.
There are different methods for calculating what percentage of the pension the ex-spouses are entitled to. The document presented to the court must clearly state the formula used to deduct the amount of payment, and once again, the length of the marriage will come into play. One of the most common trends is to count the number of points accumulated in the marriage instead of months, this is especially considered for the spouses who serve in the Reservations.
If you or your spouse is a member of the military and you’re considering divorce, contact us for a free consultation regarding your case. Click here to schedule or send an SMS to 619-648-9652.
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