How does the ‘10/10 rule’ affect military divorce?

| Feb 9, 2021 | Divorce |

Estranged spouses of military service and former military service members have so many thoughts on their minds. Besides seeking a new home returning from abroad or moving back to their home state, they are like many other soon-to-be-divorced people. They wonder about the financial aspects, including the division of assets.

One question that surfaces is whether they will receive a share of their spouse’s military pension. The simple answer is “yes.” Military pensions are marital assets, which were accumulated during the marriage. In some instances, people involved in a military divorce cite the “10/10 rule” as a general and helpful guide when it comes to awarding military pensions. However, sometimes, this rule gets misinterpreted, causing some confusion.

Rule addresses the payment source

Here is a brief description of the “10/10 rule”:

  • If the marriage lasted 10 years and the service member or former service member served at least 10 years in the military during that marriage, then the former spouse shall receive those pension benefits from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

The rule simply addresses the source of payment – a direct payment — to the spouse. As a result of the 10/10 rule, the spouse receives pension-related payments directly from the DFAS – the provider of payment services for the U.S. Department of Defense. Thus, the former spouse does not have to rely on and wait for payments from the retired military service member.

The confusion over the 10/10 rule usually surfaces when retired military service members contend that the former spouse is entitled to military pension benefits only if the couple were married for 10 years while they served 10 years in the military service during the marriage. This is inaccurate.

The 10/10 rule assures that the divorced spouse does not miss any payments, while also limits the contact between the former spouses who, sometimes, had an acrimonious split.