first part of this series dealt with preparation for dividing a military pension
for a divorce. The
second part of th is series dealt with the division of the military pension. This
post will detail some of the important issue surrounding the division
of a military pension for a divorce.
10/10/10:This refers to 10 years of marriage, plus 10 years of military service,
plus 10 years of overlap between the marriage and service. A spouse must
have 10/10/10 in order for the
DFAS to send military retirement payments to the spouse. However, the spouse
may still collect a share of retired pay without the 10 year overlap,
so long as it is paid directly by the servicemember.
20/20/20: This refers to 20 years of marriage, plus 20 years of military service,
plus 20 years of overlap between the marriage and service. A former spouse
of a servicemember may qualify for full medical benefits if he/she is
20/20/20 and has not remarried. Spouses of shorter term marriages can
try to get medical benefits through the Continued Health Benefit Program.
Life Insurance: Servicemembers may have Servicemembers Group Life Insurance ("SGLI").
However, the court cannot enforce agreements or orders that require the
servicemember to carry SGLI for the spouse - so don't try.
Disabilities: The military retiree can sometime unilaterally reduce the spouse's
military retirement payments. Certain types of disability compensation
(VA disability compensation, Combat Related Special Compensation) will
DRP of the servicemember and thus the payments to the ex-spouse. Following
a Supreme Court decision, the courts cannot divide VA disability compensation.
So, when a military retiree has a VA disability rating of less than 50%,
election of VA payments means a dollar-for-dollar reduction of retirement
pay to the spouse. Accordingly, any relevant court order or agreement
must consider whether to have indemnification language in case of such
a unilateral reduction.
Remember that this is just a brief and general description of the process.
You must consult with your attorney to determine the right process, route
and language for you. Dividing a military pension is extremely complicated,
so it is vital to find an attorney who can conclude the process properly.