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Do Spouses Qualify for Military Benefits in Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Travis County Military Divorce AttorneyWhen a person goes through a divorce, it is often a jarring experience. What they thought was once their future has now been dissolved and an uncertain future may lay ahead. Not only are there emotional uncertainties to deal with, but the financial changes can also feel overwhelming. There are immediate concerns, like the change in monthly income, that child and spousal support may cover, but there are also future financial changes that can be a concern.

These concerns can be particularly significant for military spouses, especially when it comes to military benefits. Military couples do have a high rate of divorce, with approximately 20,000 of them divorcing each year. In a survey of what industries have higher divorce rates that used data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, the profession with the number one highest rate was first-line enlisted military supervisors.

How Is a Military Pension Divided in a Divorce?

Unlike non-military pensions, addressing a military pension in a divorce can be complex. There are several factors that need to be examined, including where the divorce is filed. Under federal law, the state the divorce is taking place in only has jurisdiction over how the member’s military pension will be divided if:

  • The member is a legal resident of that state.

  • The member is living in that state for reasons other than a military assignment.

  • The member agrees to that state’s jurisdiction.

If none of the above criteria are met, then the state the divorce is taking place does not have jurisdiction – or say – in how the member’s pension should be divided in the divorce. This is why it is critical to have a skilled complex divorce attorney representing you.

Will I Be Able to Keep My Military Benefits After Divorce?

In order to determine if a spouse will still be entitled to military benefits after divorce, the government uses the 20-20-20 rule. The name of this rule comes from the three criteria the military looks at in making this determination:

  • The member served in the military for 20 or more years.

  • The couple was married for at least 20 years.

  • There was an overlapping of at least 20 years of military service and marriage.

Contact a Travis County Divorce Lawyer for Legal Help

If you are divorcing your spouse and one or both of you are current or former military members, make sure you have a seasoned Austin, TX complex divorce attorney protecting your interests. Call Powers and Kerr, PLLC at 512-610-6199 to schedule a confidential consultation and find out how we can help.






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