What is the 10 Year Rule Related to Military Pension?

Divorce decree

With the number of assets and benefits related to the military, there are many items to be considered in a military divorce. One of these items is a military member’s pension. Dividing a pension can be critical to divorce negotiations and financial stability of spouses. Therefore, proper understanding of the laws regarding these divisions is critical to your divorce. Contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your or your spouse’s military pension and the laws surrounding the division of the same in a divorce action.

It is important to draw upon the confusion surrounding this 10 year rule. Although similar in description to the common 20/20/20 rule, the 10/10 rule regarding pensions does have its differences. Just as in the 20/20/20 rule, the numbers 10/10 respectively relate to the length of the marriage and the length of military service. However, there is no requirement that there be an overlap in time between the duration of the marriage and service of the military member. Further, failure to meet these 10 year requirements does not remove your eligibility for a portion of your military spouse’s retired pay. In reality, a pension is considered to be a marital asset and is always subject to equitable division in a divorce proceeding, as seen in the Uniformed Services Former Spouse’s Protection Act. The amount that is considered marital is the amount of pension that accrued during the length of the marriage. This entitlement cannot be removed by a failure to meet a durational requirement. This 10/10 year rule only affects the manner in which the military spouse is paid their portion of the pension.

If you meet these two 10 year durational requirements, you are entitled to receive direct payments of the retired military pension from the Defense Finance and Accounting Services. If you do not qualify under these time constraints, you are still entitled to your portion of the pension, as discusses above, however, the military member will be responsible for paying you directly. The 10 year rule does tend to make the payment process easier on both the military member and spouse, as the payments are ensured to be delivered on time and in the proper amount. However, there is no need to panic if you do not meet these requirements. Regulations and methods of payment will be drafted into your settlement agreement to ensure you may properly enforce the award and receive your entitled amount of the pension plan.

Military pensions can be a significant asset to a divorce and therefore should be given a great deal of consideration. This consideration should include the surrounding laws governing the division of this pension plan and receipt of the income you are entitled to. Discuss the division of a military pension with your knowledgeable military divorce lawyer to gain more specific and unique information regarding your case.

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