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What happens to a servicemember's pension in a military divorce?

One of the many benefits of serving in the military in the United States is the pension a service member will receive. Panama City service members and their spouses often rely on these pensions as a means towards an earlier retirement than civilian employees, and with a more valuable overall retirement package. It is an important asset for any military couple.

Because it is so important, it is often a prime source of concern should a servicemember divorce. His or her nonmilitary spouse, who may have stayed out of the workforce, will also be greatly interested in whether or not they will receive a portion of the pension after the divorce.

Fortunately, there are situations in which a military pension will be divided between the spouses. First of all, the military couple needs to have been married for at least a decade, in which time the servicemember spouse must have also undergone at minimum of a decade of creditable military service.

Other military benefits may also be acquired by the nonmilitary spouse in a divorce. For example, a nonmilitary spouse may retain their health insurance, commissary and exchange benefits if he or she was married to the servicemember spouse for at least two decades, and during which the servicemember spouse must have accrued a minimum of two decades of creditable military service.

As this shows, applying military family law to any divorce can be a complicated process, especially when it comes to military pensions. Certain rules apply in a military divorce that civilian families do not face. Therefore, if a servicemember or a nonmilitary spouse married to a servicemember wants to get a divorce, they may first want to obtain the advice of a military family law attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Military Divorce and Alimony," accessed April 11, 2017

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