If you are in the Armed Forces or if your spouse is a service member, you are probably aware of the fact that a military pension can be a valuable asset in a Texas divorce.
In 1982, the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) was passed by Congress, which gives state courts the discretion to treat a military pension as either separate property, which belongs to the service member, or as marital property in accordance with applicable state laws.
There is a common misconception about the Act; a lot of people think there is a set formula for dividing a military pension in the event of a divorce, but that is not the case. State courts have the freedom to divide retired pay in any way they so choose, subject to state laws.
“Does Texas treat military pensions as separate or marital property?” Texas, like all of the other states, treats military pensions as “marital property,” which means they are subject to division in a military divorce.
What About the 10-Year Rule?
One of the biggest misconceptions about military pensions is that they are only subject to division in a divorce if the marriage lasted 10 or more years. Much like a traditional IRA or 401(k), a Texas family court can award a portion of a military pension to a non-service member spouse, even if the couple was only married for less than a year.
“Can the Department of Defense pay me directly if I’m awarded a portion of my spouse’s military pension?” In order to receive direct payments from the Department of Defense, you must have been married to your military spouse for at least 10 years, and at least 10 of those years of marriage must overlap with your spouse’s military service. If you have questions, we can explain how payments are disbursed to non-members in a divorce.
Note: If a divorcing spouse was married to the service member for 20 or more years and the member had at least 20 year of service, and there was a 20 or more year overlap between the marriage and military service, the non-member spouse retains all of their military benefits, such as medical and military exchanges.
To learn more about military divorces in Katy and Cypress, contact Hunt Law Firm, PLLCto schedule your initial consultation.