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How are military pensions divided after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2022 | Divorce, Military Divorce

All divorces can be complicated. In addition to the emotional aspects of the split, there are issues like property division. When one Tennessee spouse is a military member, there are special rules pertaining to dividing the military pension.

How military pension is divided

If you are a member of the military and your marriage ends, your military pension will be split between you and your former spouse. Under the Uniform Services Former Spouses Protection Act, state courts are permitted to treat military pensions as property, which makes them eligible for asset division during a divorce.

During a divorce, the court will divide your military pension on a 50/50 basis depending on its value by the time you retire from the military. In all states, the pension can be treated as community property even in equitable distribution states such as Tennessee.

Often, there’s confusion surrounding the division of military pensions after a divorce. While it’s widely believed that couples must have been married for at least 10 years, there’s no set length of time for the marriage to have lasted for a former spouse of a military member to be eligible for a portion of the benefits. However, if a person was in the military for the length of a long-term marriage, their former spouse could receive as much as half of their military pension.

Receiving a portion of the military pension

Someone divorced from a member of the military must wait until after their former spouse has retired before they can receive a portion of their military pension. However, filing for a portion of those benefits must be done during the divorce. Waiting too long could compromise the individual’s ability to recover their share.

Military benefits cannot be collected until after the military member has retired. Once benefit payments begin, they continue until one former spouse passes away. Remarriage by either party doesn’t affect payments.