Military divorces can face unique challenges and differences from civilian divorces. It is helpful for military spouses to be familiar with special rules that may apply to the military divorce process. Both state and federal laws can have an impact on a military divorce. Federal laws may determine where the divorce process takes place and how a military pension may be divided. State laws, alternately, may determine alimony and other concerns such as property division.
In addition to procedural differences including jurisdiction, service and filing differences that may apply in circumstances of a military divorce, one major concern during the military divorce process may be the division of a military pension. A military pension may be subject to division during the military divorce process similar to the division of retirement in a civilian divorce. The division of a military pension or retirement benefits can be a significant concern for many divorcing spouses, especially those who are closer to retirement the age of which can vary.
The treatment of a military pension is generally divided according to state laws concerning separate or community property. If the couple were married for 10 years that overlapped with 10 years of military service, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) will pay the military spouse's portion of the pension to them directly. In circumstances when the couple has been married for fewer than 10 years, the court may still require a division of the military pension, however, it is not paid directly by DFAS to the military spouse.
In addition, other military-related benefits may also be the subject of division and concern in a military divorce along with pension benefits which is why it is helpful for divorcing military couples to understand in advance how to expect these concerns to be handled during the divorce process. When divorcing couples are familiar with the process, and know what to expect, it can create a smoother and more amicable divorce process which is a benefit for everyone.
Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Military Divorce," Accessed March 7, 2017