It is common for people to feel confused about their rights in an upcoming divorce. When one spouse is a military servicemember or someone who has retired from the military, there may be even more confusion about what happens in the divorce.
There are many myths about divorce that people pass off as the truth. Especially with military divorces, people who don’t understand the rules may give bad advice with the best of intentions. One of the issues people find the most confusing in the military divorce is what happens with various military benefits.
Some people don’t understand what rules apply to the division of pension benefits if one spouse served in the military. Is there a military rule that determines whether you split those benefits and how you divide them?
Indiana state law determines how you split your property
The military does not impose internal rules on divorce proceedings. The civilian family courts in Indiana will handle the divorce both of retired military members and active-duty service members.
Therefore, the civilian laws relating to marital property in Indiana determine how you split a military pension in a divorce. Once the courts determine the appropriate way to handle a pension, military rules may influence the distribution of those benefits.
Under the 10/10 Rule, if the spouse who served in the military had at least ten years of active service during the marriage and the marriage itself lasted for at least ten years, then the non-military spouse can potentially receive their share of the pension benefit directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Otherwise, the courts or spouses will have to make alternate arrangements for the non-military spouse to receive payments from the military spouse.
Military pensions can be a major factor in a pending divorce
Retirement benefits and pensions are often a focal point in divorce disputes. A military pension can be a valuable benefit of service that each spouse feels strongly about during divorce proceedings.
The military servicemember may have chosen their profession specifically for the security of a military pension, while their spouse may have given up their own earning potential to support a long-term military career.
Understanding the rules that apply to military divorces and help you better prepare for your upcoming negotiations or court date.