It can be hard to go through a divorce when you’re in the military. It may be difficult to find the time, since you may be stationed away from the United States. Even if you participate in the divorce from afar, the time it takes to mail and receive information draws out the process.

Before you go through a military divorce with your spouse, it’s a good idea to talk to someone familiar with the process. It’s very similar to a civilian divorce, but there are some factors that will impact you differently. For example, you will have to share a portion of your retirement payments with your ex-spouse if you have served and been married for 10 years consecutively. If your spouse doesn’t qualify, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay a share of your retirement to him or her, just that the direct payments from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service won’t be made automatically.

It’s also a good idea to talk about your survivor benefits plan. After divorce, your ex-spouse will not be entitled to this plan automatically. It’s something you need to discuss. If your ex-spouse will receive coverage, any new spouse must be informed. Only one person can be covered by the plan, so it’s important to make an informed decision.

As a member of the military, it’s in your best interests to work with someone who can protect your pension and other benefits during a divorce. You have enough on your mind, so it’s okay to look for help from a professional.

Source: Military.com, “Understanding Divorce in the Military,” accessed March 21, 2018

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