RPM Law

Military divorce presents its own type of challenges

Military families face a number of challenges that other Arizona couples may not have to face. Over time, each spouse makes adjustments and learns how to handle these challenges. The same is true when the couple decides to divorce and challenges related to a military divorce need to be addressed.

One challenge is determining if and how retirement payments will be made to the nonmilitary spouse. If the spouse is entitled to receipt of a portion of the military member's retirement pay based upon the divorce decree, then it is possible for the Department of Defense to make direct retirement payments to the spouse under certain conditions. This option is only available if the couple has been married for a minimum of 10 years and at least one of the individuals was an active member of the military for at least 10 years of the marriage. Additionally, the military member is required to address the option of survivor's benefits upon retirement. This is a separate issue and should be addressed in the divorce negotiation process.

Benefits such as base privileges can also be a concern. Many military spouses enjoy the opportunity to shop at the commissary and base exchange. Additionally, other base facilities such as the fitness center and theatre are often a part of the family's routine that can change with divorce. If the couple was married for at least 20 years and for at least 20 years of the marriage, the spouse was a member of the military, then the spouse is still entitled to these privileges as long as he or she does not remarry someone who is not a member of the military.

These challenges will typically not affect the overall decision to divorce. Yet, they are issues that may need to be considered as the Arizona couple negotiates a military divorce. Experienced legal counsel can assist the individual is addressed these concerns as well as others that present themselves.

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