Hawaii Military Divorce FAQ
Hawaii Military Divorce FAQ
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Military Divorce In Hawaii: Frequently Asked Questions

The military divorce attorneys at Greg Ryan & Associates advise and represent clients in all branches of the military. Our founding attorney is a former Judge Advocate General in the JAG Corps, and our entire legal team is well-versed in divorce and child custody matters as they relate to military members and their spouses. To arrange a consultation with an experienced Hawaii divorce attorney, please call us in Honolulu at 808-796-5613 or contact us by email.

How does being in Hawaii affect a military divorce?

Being stationed in Hawaii can impact jurisdictional issues in a military divorce. The service member or the spouse must typically reside or be stationed in Hawaii for a certain period of time to file for divorce here. Typically, you or your spouse must have lived in Hawaii for six months or more, and you or your spouse must have resided on the same island or in the same county for three months or more.

What is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), and how does it apply?

The USFSPA is a federal law that addresses the division of military retirement pay in a divorce. It allows states to treat military retirement pay as property instead of income, meaning the property can be divided as a marital asset.

How is child custody determined in a military divorce?

Child custody in military divorces follows the same best interest of the child standard as civilian divorces, but the courts will also consider the unique demands of military service, such as deployment, when making custody decisions.

See our overview of child custody for military families to learn more.

How is child support calculated for military members?

Child support is calculated based on state guidelines, which consider the service member’s income, including base pay, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and other special pay. Each branch of the military also has regulations regarding support obligations in the absence of a court order.

Can a non-military spouse keep their military benefits after a divorce?

A non-military spouse may be eligible to retain certain military benefits, such as commissary, exchange, and health care benefits, under the 20/20/20 rule, which requires at least 20 years of marriage, 20 years of military service, and a 20-year overlap of both.

How are military pensions divided in a divorce?

Military pensions are divided according to state law, but the USFSPA provides a method for enforcing these orders through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). For example, the “10/10 rule” allows direct payment from DFAS to the former spouse if the marriage overlapped with 10 years of military service.

To learn more, please see our overview of the 10/10 rule in military divorce.

What happens to survivor benefits in a military divorce?

The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) can be addressed in the divorce settlement. If the service member elects SBP coverage for the former spouse, it allows the former spouse to continue to receive a portion of the retired pay upon the service member’s death. This election must be made as part of the divorce decree and properly filed with the appropriate military service branch.

What legal protections are there for military members in divorce proceedings?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides protections for active-duty military members facing divorce proceedings. The Act can postpone or stay civil court matters, including divorce proceedings, to ensure that service members can devote their full attention to their duties and have a fair chance to participate in the proceedings once the service member is available to do so.

Contact Greg Ryan & Associates In Honolulu

Our military divorce attorneys advise and represent clients throughout Hawaii. Please call us at 808-796-5613 or complete our contact form to arrange a consultation.