What Is the 10/10 Rule in Military Divorce?
What Is the 10/10 Rule in Military Divorce?
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The 10/10 Rule In Military Divorce

In a military divorce, the ex-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. There are conditions concerning the length of the marriage and years of service that must be met. Put simply, if the marriage lasted at least 10 years and the military member has at least 10 years of military service, the spouse may qualify to receive part of the service member’s retirement pay. The years of service do not need to overlap the years of marriage.

For a free 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 enlisted and former service members 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 know what you are going through, and will help you assert your rights and 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. The Act also allows the ex-spouse to collect the benefits directly from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) rather than as part of a payment from the ex-military spouse.

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 and help you get payment terms that are fair to you.

Contact Military Divorce Attorney Greg Ryan Today

To determine whether you are eligible for payments under the 10/10 rule, or for help negotiating terms of payment, please contact Greg Ryan & Associates, Attorneys at Law, LLLC, for a free initial consultation. Call our Honolulu office at 808-796-5613 or complete our contact form. We advise and represent clients throughout Hawaii.