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How the 10/10 rule applies to pensions in military divorce

Keeping any marriage healthy may be challenging. For military couples, it can be even more so. Like civilian couples, couples with ties to the armed forces can see high rates of divorce.

And just like divorcing civilian couples, divorcing military couples have concerns about assets when they separate. A major question that surfaces for estranged spouses of military service members is whether they can claim portions of their military pension. They can since a pension is considered a marital asset. Here is where the 10/10 rule comes into play.

Clarifying the payment source

The 10/10 rule sets the wheels in motion as to how an ex-spouse of a service member may collect his or her court-ordered share of the service member’s pension. The rule clarifies the source of the payment.

Here is an explanation of the 10/10 rule. If a person’s marriage to a military member lasted at least 10 years and that current or retired service member served for a minimum of 10 years, the former spouse shall receive his or her share of pension benefits. Those payments will come from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), which provides such services for the U.S. Department of Defense.

A list of the benefits for receiving the pension payments directly from the DFAS include:

  • Not having to rely on the whims of a former spouse, who may attempt to withhold or delay payments.
  • There are no chances for late or missed payments.
  • Reduced contact between the former spouses means fewer chances of additional tension.
  • The DFAS’s issuance of a 1099 tax form makes sure that the retired military member does not receive taxes for payments made to the former spouse.

The 10/10 rule provides clear direction regarding the source of pension payments to a former spouse. Understanding how this rule can help you is important.

Self-advocacy is important

You deserve your fair share of your former spouse’s military pension. Advocate for yourself by learning and studying just what may happen if you choose to divorce your spouse. It also is a good idea to work with a legal ally prepared to guide you and answer your questions.


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