A divorce involving members of the military (both current and former members) is generally no different from the typical divorce. However, there are a few legal issues that you should be aware of when military members are involved.
If your spouse is currently receiving or will receive in the future, a military retirement pension then as a former spouse you might be entitled to a portion of the pension. The amount of the pension that you are entitled to receive is tied to your spouse’s years of credible service in the military, the years of marriage and the amount of disposable military pay that your spouse is receiving.
Example: Mary and John were married for 30 years. John performed 25 years of credible service with the Navy during the parties’ marriage. John currently receives $2,000.00 as his disposable military retirement pay. As part of the divorce, Mary would be entitled to one-half or $1,000.00 per month.
Example: Mary and John were married for 10 years. John performed 20 years of credible service with the Navy, 10 years of which were during the parties’ marriage. John currently receives $2,000.00 as his disposable military retirement pay. As part of the divorce, Mary would be entitled to $500.00 per month.
What would happen to my share of the pension if my former spouses passes away?
The Court can but is not required to order that the former spouse keep the other spouse listed as their beneficiary under the survivor benefit plan. If the court does so, then you can send the Court order to Defense Finance and Accounting Services (“DFAS”) and they will ensure that you remain the listed beneficiary.
What happens to my Tricare health benefits after the divorce?
A former spouse may continue to be eligible for Tricare if all of the following are present:
- they have not remarried,
- are not covered by an employer-sponsored health plan,
- were marred to the same service member for at least 20 years
- the service member performed 20 years of credible service
- the member was performing credible military service for at least 20 years of the marriage.
- If the member was performing credible military service for at least 15 years of the marriage and all other requirements are met, then the former spouse can continue to receive Tricare for 1 year following the marriage.
The Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act provides that if you or your spouse is called to active duty military or is deployed, then the divorce could be postponed to enable the military member to devote full attention to duty.