A military divorce can be more complicated than a civilian divorce, depending on the aspects of your case. Understanding the laws that impact your divorce and your rights is beneficial if you are currently undergoing such a divorce or will do so in the future. With the assistance of an experienced lawyer who worked with military couples in the past, you can address any questions and concerns you may have about this kind of divorce. Today, we go over what you need to know about a military divorce in Missouri.
How Does a Military Divorce Differ from a Civilian Divorce?
One of the ways a military divorce is different than a civilian divorce is the applicability of the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. This act allows former spouses of military service members to have access to the following benefits:
- Access to commissary or exchange
- Payments from a portion of your former spouse’s military retirement account
- Access to Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (network of support and leisure services designed for use by U.S. servicemembers, their families, military retirees, veterans)
Army National Guard Soldiers serving on federal active duty and their authorized family members are eligible to utilize MWR facilities and programs. These benefits include access to Armed Forces Recreation Centers, Child, Youth, and School Services, Army libraries, Army lodging, and more.
Another way a military divorce is unique is that there are protections in place for people entering the military that may impact divorce proceedings. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is one of them. Essentially, the SCRA gives a judge authority to reopen a divorce case when a servicemember is deployed or unable to be present for a legal proceeding. This act helps to protect those who are unable to appear because they are fulfilling their duty to the military.
Dividing a Military Retirement Plan During a Divorce
Members of the United States Armed Forces may have substantial retirement plans to divide up during a divorce. It should be noted that there are specific rules that must be followed when a military member’s retirement plan is divided.
There is a rule called the 10/10 rule, which states that if you and your spouse were married for at least 10 years and the spouse who served in the military did so for at least 10 years of creditable service during the marriage, the other spouse is entitled to a portion of these benefits.
Medical Benefits After a Military Divorce
There is a rule in a military divorce called the 20/20/15 rule. This states that the former spouse of a military member is eligible for medical benefits 1 year after the divorce/annulment if the following requirements are met:
- Marriage lasted at least 20 years
- Servicemember completed at least 20 years of creditable military service
- Minimum of 15 years of the marriage passed while the military spouse was an active servicemember
When these requirements are met, the non-military spouse can still receive medical benefits even after the marriage is over.
Whether you are a military servicemember or a non-servicemember, our firm can help you navigate the unique challenges and legal issues that could arise during a military divorce. Contact us online or call us at (314) 441-7793 to schedule a consultation.