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The 10/10 rule and dividing retirement pay in military divorce

As we have previously discussed, military divorce is in several important respects regulated by different rules than regular divorce. This is based on the type of benefits military members and their families receive because of military service. There are a couple of rules that have a big impact on military divorce settlements. One is the 10/10 rule and the other is legal regulations that govern jurisdiction.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act serves two purposes. One, it maintains the longstanding principle that retirement funds are divisible during a divorce. On the other hand, the statute implements several procedural rules that guide how an ex-spouse can go about obtaining his or her share of benefits. One of the rules the USFSPA enacted is the 10/10 rule.

The 10/10 rule is named for what it represents. There must be 10 years of marriage between the spouses in order for the retired pay to be divided as property. During this time, the military member must have performed 10 years or more of military service. Hence, the 10/10 rule is 10 years of marriage and 10 years of military service.

The 10/10 rule can greatly affect the financial outcome of a military divorce. There are certain regulations in place that vary greatly from non-military divorce. Examining all the laws of military divorce along with how personal factors measure up to these special rules will determine how the divorce is handled. The USFSPA regulates and enforces these regulations to the fullest reasonable extent.

Source: dfas.mil, "State jurisdiction," accessed December 1, 2014

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