Retirement benefits and accounts are hard-earned types of property or assets. When a couple decides to seek a divorce, it can be complicated in determining who is entitled to what retirement benefits and how much. However, if one or both spouses are service members, this can be further complicated. This is because there are federal laws in place specifically for servicemembers obtaining a divorce.
If you foresee your divorce as being a military divorce, it is very important that your attorney have experience and knowledge with applicable bodies of law, such as the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). Whether you are the servicemember wanting to make sure you receive what you are entitled to having served our country or you are the spouse of a servicemember contesting your fair share of retirement assets, a seasoned military divorce lawyer is critical to your situation.
Protections for Both Parties
While the USFSPA provides protections for the spouse of the servicemember, the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides many protections for the servicemember. Especially when he or she is on active duty. As someone who is protecting our country and putting your life on the line, you should not have to worry about domestic legal issues while on active duty. As a broad-sweeping rule, while on active duty many civil proceedings you are part of such as a divorce, are given a ninety day stay. However, every situation is different and requires the review of a skilled attorney.
Under the USFSPA, the “10/10 Rule” applies if you are a former spouse seeking military retirement pay. What this means is that if you are seeking protection under the USFSPA for the purpose of military retirement pay, you must have been married at least ten years. In addition, the servicemember spouse must have served for at least ten years. As you can see, there are complicated facets of being part of a military divorce.