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How are pensions handled in a military divorce?

A military marriage can be difficult. Some military couples in Falls Church may be able to work through an active deployment and other ways being in the military can disrupt a marriage. However, other military couples will find that these difficulties are simply too much to handle, and they are best off divorcing.

When a person, military or civilian, goes through a divorce, they will need to divide their assets. And, just like civilian pensions, military pensions are part of this process. Whether the pension will be considered sole property or marital property depends on state law. Also, state law will usually determine how such retirement pay will be divided.

Also, if the military couple had been married for at least 10 years during the course of at least 10 years of military service, then pensions will be paid out by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. This is called the 10-year rule. In addition, even if a military couple hadn't been married for 10 years, a court could still award payments from a military retirement account. However, these payments will be paid by the retired military spouse, instead of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Retirement accounts can be divided in a military divorce, just as they can be in a civilian divorce. This is important, because oftentimes a person's pension or other retirement accounts can be some of their most valuable assets. However, military spouses may face unique divorce legal issues that civilian spouses do not. Therefore, military spouses who are seeking a divorce may want to consult with an attorney familiar with military family law before proceeding.

Source: FindLaw, "Military Divorce," accessed March 12, 2018

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