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Military Divorce


Military Divorce

Military personnel and their spouses provide a unique opportunity for our Firm, which is to do what we love (provide high level divorce representation) for people who serve our country (and their spouses) and whom we highly respect. For us, our military clients and their spouses provide us with the best of both worlds.


Military divorces involve unique legal issues in most cases. There are often issues about jurisdiction, custody, how to divide military retirement, whether payments can be made directly from DFAS and a host of other issues that can seem daunting at first. Many of our attorneys have extensive experience handling military divorces from the perspective of the person serving as well as that person’s spouse. We bring a client focused approach to military cases that will allow you to work through your issues in the most efficient, time saving, cost saving, and healthy way possible.


There are various methods for calculating the portion of military pension to which an ex-spouse is entitled. These can include net present value and reserve jurisdiction. While the most common is reserve jurisdiction, meaning the share the ex-spouse receives is calculated at retirement, divorcing parties should discuss these various options before making a decision. If, for instance, there is the possibility of a buyout up front, then the parties may choose to explore a net present value calculation. Whatever you decide, however, those terms must be stated explicitly in your divorce decree and a subsequent court order dividing the military pension.


This is one area of military divorce that causes enormous problems. Spouses often believe that if they were the survivor beneficiary of the survivor benefit plan while married, they will remain so upon divorce. This is NOT correct. The survivor benefit plan is a mutually exclusive benefit that MUST be addressed in the divorce settlement, and with other documentation following the divorce within a year of the divorce.


Even after divorce, an ex-spouse of a military member may still be eligible for base privileges such as commissary and exchange. In order for that to happen, the former spouse must qualify under the 20/20/20 rule. Here are the requirements:

– Married to your former spouse for at least twenty years;
– The military member was in the military for at least twenty years; and
– The marriage overlapped the time in service by at least twenty years.

If these criteria are met, the ex-spouse of the military member is entitled to full base privileges as long as he or she does not remarry.


Just as in qualifying for continuing base privileges, the ex-spouse of a military member can also qualify for TRICARE as long as the 20/20/20 rule is met, and as long as the ex-spouse does not remarry.


When you are ready to proceed with your divorce, contact our office and inform our staff that you have a military divorce. We will then match you with one of our attorneys who has extensive experience in this area. Remember that you still have all the divorce options available to people who are not in the military, like mediated divorce and collaborative divorce, but everything is done with military benefits in mind. You can schedule a consultation by calling 505-843-7303.

We look forward to meeting you!

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