One of the most significant benefits of military service is the military retirement system, which includes a pension starting the day the service member retires. Military pensions are also a significant issue when service members divorce.
Under a law known as the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), spouses of service members are entitled to an equitable share of the pension the service member earned during the marriage. How the spouse receives his or her share of the pension depends something known as the "10/10 rule."
What is the 10/10 rule?
The 10/10 rule is often misunderstood. It is not used to determine whether the spouse is entitled to a portion of the service member's pension. It only determines where the check comes from: directly from the military or from the service member.
If you were married to a service member for at least 10 years, and the service member was engaged in creditable service for at least 10 years during your marriage, your share of the military pension will come directly from the military.
If you and your service member spouse do not meet the 10/10 rule, you can still obtain a share of your spouse's military pension. However, you will need to rely on your service member spouse writing you a check each month.
Jody A. Miller, Attorney at Law, handles military divorce for service members and their spouses in the Atlanta area.