military woman and husband

Divorces can be tricky and uncomfortable no matter who they involve. Dividing assets and coming up with custody agreements is never fun, but due to specific rules, divorces that involve a military member can be even more complicated. To acquire legal representation in your divorce case contact a Sussex County, Sparta NJ military divorce attorney.

Does the Length of Marriage Affect the Divorce?

Both the length of the marriage and the length of time the military member has served can impact the outcome of a divorce. The nonmilitary spouse may be entitled to certain benefits after the divorce depending on the circumstances and timeline of their marriage. The following are three rules that determine what the nonmilitary spouse should receive after the divorce.

  • 10/10: If you have been married for 10 years or more while your spouse served in the military for 10 years or more, the DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) will divide your ex’s monthly pension check and distribute the money to you both.
  • 20/20/20: If you were married for 20 years or more while your spouse was serving in the military for 20 years or more, you are entitled to full health care coverage and commissary benefits after your divorce.
  • 20/20/15: If you were married for 20 years or more and your spouse was in the military for 20 years or more but your marriage and their service only overlapped for 15 years, you are entitled to 1 year of Tricare coverage.

Like any divorce, the amount of time you were married will also influence a court when deciding things like alimony payments, child support, division of assets, and more.

What Are the Ways that Military Divorces Are More Complicated?

Military divorces are just like civilian divorces but some special rules and regulations must be abided by because of the nature of their job in the military. The following are general ways in which military divorces can become complex.

  • Deciding where to file: This can be complicated because of how often military families move around. You must file for divorce in the state where you legally reside. Determining legal residency can be more complex for a military family.
  • Delaying proceedings: In civilian divorces, when one spouse files the other spouse must respond in around 20 to 35 days depending on state law. However, because of special circumstances, a military member may request a stay to postpone any hearings or proceedings.
  • Child custody: It can be difficult to come up with an appropriate child custody arrangement when one parent may be deployed or relocated at any moment for extended periods of time.
  • Dividing assets: In addition to normal assets like bank accounts, houses, cars, etc. military personnel have the option to contribute financially to various accounts during their service. Accounts like the Thrift Savings Plan or the Survivor Benefit Plan are retirement savings and beneficiary plans, respectively, that a service member may contribute to during their time in the military. These accounts and others can make it complicated to determine how much each spouse will walk away with.
  • Determining health and other benefits for the nonmilitary spouse: As discussed above, it can be complex to determine how many, if any, benefits a nonmilitary spouse will continue to receive after the divorce, and heavily depends on the length of the marriage.