What Are the Laws for Retired Military Getting a Divorce?


Quick Answer

While there is no federal law that mandates a divorced spouse of a retired member of the military receive a portion of benefits, a state court can order that retirement pay be split as marital property, notes the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Federal law also allows for enforcement of state-ordered alimony and child support payments for former spouses of retired members of the military.

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Full Answer

The Uniform Services Former Spouses' Protection Act of 1981 authorizes state courts to divide military retired pay as marital property, and allows a former spouse to enforce a court judgement through direct payment from military pay, states the DFAS. For a former spouse to be eligible for direct pay of court ordered judgements, the former service member must have at least 10 years of service, and the marriage must have overlapped that service for 10 years. If the former spouse does not meet these requirements, it does not invalidate state-ordered support payments, though the ex-spouse is not be eligible for automatic payments through the military.

While the Uniform Services Former Spouses' Protection Act allows for direct collection of current alimony and child support orders, it only allows arrears payments for child support, states the DFAS. A former spouse of a retired member of the military can also file for an income withholding order under Title 42 of the United States Code. Title 42 allows for income withholding for current and arrears payments of both alimony and child support.

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