When you go through a divorce after you or your spouse has been in the military, one thing that will come up is your military retirement benefits. It’s important that you work with an attorney familiar with military retirement, because there are a few kinds that could influence your divorce case.
Active duty retirement, for example, takes place in three ways. One is a final retired pay. Another is called High-3. The third is known as CSB/Redux. In some cases, people can receive their benefits at a young age as soon as they’ve completed enough time in the military. In other cases, they must wait until they are at least 60 years old. Knowing the kind of retirement you have is key to understanding how the benefits should be split during divorce.
Another thing to keep in mind is that a spouse may only be entitled to a share of military retirement benefits if he or she was married to the military member for at least 10 years that overlap 10 years of military service. Did you stay married nine years? That’s probably not good enough. Did you stay married for 12 years but only five during military service? Again, that may disqualify you from military benefits following divorce.
Finally, remember that if the service member accepts disability benefits, the retirement benefits could be reduced. This affects both the military member and the ex-spouse receiving benefits. Courts can’t divide disability benefits, so spouses could see a drop in retirement benefits if the military member opts into disability benefits. Our site has more on things to consider if you’re ending a military marriage.