The 10/10 Rule In Military Divorce
In a military divorce, the former spouse of a service member may be eligible to collect a portion of the service member’s military retirement pay. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) allows state courts to treat military retirement pay as a marital asset to be split between spouses during a divorce.
Under what is known as the 10/10 Rule, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) can make direct payments from retirement benefits to the non-military spouse if certain criteria are met. Those criteria: the marriage and military service overlapped for at least 10 years.
For an initial consultation regarding these matters, please call Greg Ryan & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLLC, in Honolulu at 808-796-5613 or complete our contact form. We represent military members and military spouses throughout Hawaii.
An Army Veteran Now Representing Military Members And Their Spouses
The legal team at Greg Ryan & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLLC, is uniquely qualified to help service members and their spouses in divorce and family law issues. Founding attorney Greg Ryan is a former Judge Advocate General in the JAG Corps and has great insights into the challenges facing military families. Attorney Ryan and his legal team understand what you are going through, and will help you assert your rights in the divorce process. We can provide the caring and effective legal support you need, even if you or your spouse is deployed, mobilized or away from your home of record.
How The 10/10 Rule Could Affect Your Divorce
The 10/10 Rule comes into play in a military divorce during the division of marital assets. Until the USFSPA was passed in 1981, military benefits were usually considered separate property that was not to be divided in a divorce. The USFSPA gives state courts the authority to treat military retirement benefits the same as any other type of retirement benefit.
NOTE: The marriage doesn’t have to last for 10 years in order for a former spouse to receive a portion of a military member’s retirement benefits; however, for the DFAS to make direct payments to the ex-spouse, the marriage and military service must have overlapped for at least 10 years. If the 10/10 Rule requirements are not met, the former spouse will have to make arrangements to get retirement benefit payments from the military member, typically through a divorce agreement.
How Payment Amounts Are Determined
Military retirement pay is treated much the same as any other retirement benefit in the division of marital property with a key difference. Like other types of retirement benefits, the primary factors that determine what percentage of the retirement payment goes to the ex-spouse depends on how much money the couple earned while married. The difference is that under the 10/10 Rule, the ex-spouse is limited to 50% of the “disposable” retirement payment (in cases where there are child support garnishment orders, the payment may be raised up to 65% of disposable pay). According to documents created by HQDA, Army Retirement Services, the disposable payment is what remains after the following items are deducted from the initial payment:
- Amounts owed by the member for previous overpayments or recoupments;
- Amounts deducted for court martial fines;
- Amounts waived under Title 5 for Civil Service employment or under Title 38 for VA disability compensation;
- Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) premiums (only if the former spouse to receive the division is also the named former spouse SBP beneficiary);
- (For post-Nov. 14, 1986 court order dates): amounts of retired pay based on disability (per Title 10, Chap. 61);
- (For pre-Feb. 3, 1991 court order dates): amounts owed the U.S.;
- (For post-Feb. 3, 1991 court order dates): amounts withheld for federal and state income taxes, consistent with the member’s tax liability.
The legal team at Greg Ryan & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLLC, can help you determine how the 10/10 Rule affects your divorce specifically.
Contact Military Divorce Attorney Greg Ryan Today
To determine whether you are eligible for direct payments under the 10/10 Rule, or for help negotiating terms of payment, please contact Greg Ryan & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLLC, for an initial consultation. Call our Honolulu office at 808-796-5613 or complete our contact form. We advise and represent clients throughout Hawaii.