Divorces are naturally complicated. Each party involved is sure to undergo some form of financial, emotional, and legal stress during the process. However, things become much more complicated when there is a service member involved. Outside the regular issues that couples fight over during a divorce in Oklahoma, military pension or retirement is a huge part of military divorces. Almost all service members want to keep their military retirement intact but it can be very difficult to get your non-military spouse to agree to giving up their interest in your military retirement.

As a service member with 20 years of service, the military grants you eligibility for a military pension. According to federal law, this pension can be regarded as a community asset or marital property. This means that it can be subjected to asset division during a military divorce. Depending on certain factors like marriage length and when you got married; before or during service, your spouse may be entitled to as much as half of your military pension. The reality of this potential loss of a large portion of your military pension may be painful, however, there are ways to protect your military retirement in a divorce in Oklahoma. Getting the right military divorce attorney increases your chance of walking away from the marriage with a large portion of or potentially all of your military retirement.

How Military Divorce Affects Your Military Pension

The Uniform Service Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) offers a guideline on how military pension or retirement should be treated in a divorce. Federal law allows state courts to treat military retirement as a community property that can be divided in a divorce. 2017 federal law changes the way military pensions are divided to allow for up to a 50-50 split of military retirement between a service member and non-service member spouse. Federal law freezes a service member’s military retirement until such a time that the divorce has been settled and finalized with a divorce decree. The following two factors play a major role in what percentage of military retirement a non-service member spouse is entitled to in divorce: the service member’s length of service and length of marriage that overlaps military service.

It is important to note the USFSPA offers no guarantee the ex-spouse will receive any portion of your military retirement. However, it states military retirements must be treated as community property for property division purposes. Getting a skilled military divorce lawyer may assist you in avoiding losing any of your military retirement or ensuring you as a non-service member spouse obtain your share of your spouse’s military retirement.

Also, note there is no time requirement for your spouse to be entitled to a spousal share of your military retirement. Marriages that are less than a year old can also qualify the spouse for a share of your pension. Fortunately, military pensions / military retirements are negotiable assets, like any marital asset in a divorce. You may choose to offer your residence or a piece of property up in exchange for your spouse’s marital share of your pension. Additionally, you could offer an immediate payoff to your spouse through a current asset and protect more of or all of your military retirement that isn’t paid until you apply for retirement.

What is the 10/10 Rule?

Many people believe you must have been married to a service member for no less than 10 active service years before qualifying for a portion of their military retirement. False! The 10/10 rule does not prescribe eligibility or how much you can get. Instead, it states the source of the military spouse’s payment. If you’ve been married for no less than 10 years of your military partner’s active service years, you get paid directly through Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS). The payment begins immediately after the court orders are sent. In the absence of this, you get paid directly by your ex.

Contact – Cannon & Associates: Your Oklahoma Military Divorce Attorneys

Protecting your retirement in a military divorce is essential. Cannon & Associates can help with this by negotiating on your behalf while protecting your rights and interests. Founder John Cannon is a Judge Advocate and the firm has substantial experience service military members and their spouses in military divorces in Oklahoma. Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.