Some Spousal Rights and Benefits in a Military Divorce

A spouse undergoing a military divorce may be entitled to certain rights and benefits under the Uniformed Service Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). Depending on the duration of your marriage and the period of active military service of your spouse, you may be entitled to receive a portion of your military spouse’s retirement pay, as well as commissary, medical, and base exchange benefits.

10/10 Rule

Division of military retirement pay must comply with certain conditions known as the 10/10 Rule. Under the USFSPA, the former spouse must have been married to the military member for at least 10 years and the member must have performed at least 10 years of active military duty.

If the application for military retirement benefits meets the 10/10 Rule, the court may award a share of the military member’s retirement pay to the former spouse, subject to adjustments depending on other circumstances which may call for a correction of any unequal division of other property.

The right to receive a share in the military retirement pay does not end with the re-marriage of the non-military spouse, unlike the right to commissary benefits.

20/20/20 Rule

When applying for commissary and medical benefits under the USFSPA, the situation must comply with the 20/20/20 rule. Under this rule, the military member:

  • Must have been married for at least 20 years
  • Must have performed at least 20 years of retirement-creditable service, and
  • At least 20 years of the retirement-creditable service must have occurred while the military member was married.

Importance of Jurisdiction

The USFSPA consists of complex rules of procedure for the application of military divorce benefits. One of these rules requires a court to acquire jurisdiction over the service member. Otherwise, any application for retirement and other benefits under the USFSPA must be rejected.

Jurisdiction over the military member may be acquired through consent of the member, or by their residency or domicile at the time of divorce. A qualified and experienced military divorce attorney can help in ensuring compliance with jurisdictional requirements, preparing the necessary documents, and pursuing all legal options for obtaining benefits that are appropriate in your situation.

In Tampa, Florida, the dedicated family law attorneys at the Anton Legal Group have more than 30 years of experience in dissolution of marriages, including military divorce. We focus on providing individual attention to each client and can assist in negotiating marital settlement agreements that best suit your situation.

We invite you to contact our attorneys at (813) 443-5249 to schedule an initial case analysis of your situation.