Dividing Military Retired Pay Benefits In Divorce
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) was passed by Congress in 1982, specifically to give a state court the authority to treat military retired pay as marital property and divide it between the spouses. This legislation was in direct response to the preceding year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in McCarty v. McCarty, wherein the court precluded state courts from dividing military retired pay as an asset of the marriage.
While military retired pay is not divisible using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”), it is divisible using a Military Retired Pay Division Order.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (“DFAS”) has very specific rules about how and when military retirement pay can be divided. For a division of retired pay as a property award to be enforceable under the USFSPA, the former spouse must have been married to the service member for at least 10 years, and during that time the service member must have performed at least 10 years of creditable service. This is referred to as the 10/10 requirement.
In addition, no more than 50% of retired pay can be awarded as marital property. Because the DFAS has very specific requirements relative to division of military retired pay, it is important that the parties understand these technical requirements early on. There are many ways that a former spouse can lose his or her right to division of retired military pay, so relying on an expert in this unique area is very important.
Military Retirement Divorce
Source: Dividing Military Retired Pay Benefits In Divorce | Robert Hetsler,J.D. CPA,CVA,CFF,FCPA,MAFF,CMAP,PFP | LinkedIn