Divorce can be complicated, especially when one or both spouses are in the military. Spouses must navigate special laws that affect their divorce, including how their military pensions are divided.
In Texas, military retirement benefits are considered marital property, meaning they’re subject to division during military divorce proceedings. Here’s what you should know.
Military Retirement Benefits Can Be a Significant Asset
Military retirement benefits are a form of deferred compensation that service members earn by serving their country. Under federal law, military members become eligible for retirement benefits after 20 years of active-duty service.
These benefits are calculated based on the service member’s rank and years of service and become a significant asset in a marriage. For example, if you retire from the military after 20 years of service, you will get 40% of your highest 36 months of base pay for life.
Dividing Military Retirement Benefits in a Divorce
A law called the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) governs the division of military retirement benefits in a divorce. The USFSPA allows states to divide military retirement benefits in divorce proceedings.
In Texas, military retirement benefits are subject to division, and the court will determine how to divide the benefits between the spouses based on a number of factors.
Factors Texas Courts Consider When Dividing Military Retirement Benefits
Texas courts consider a range of factors when determining how to divide military retirement benefits. These include:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- The earning potential and financial needs of each spouse
- The property and income of each spouse
- The contributions each spouse made to the marriage (including non-financial contributions like caring for the kids)
In general, the court will strive to divide the military retirement benefits in a way that is fair and equitable to both parties.
Hiring a Divorce Attorney Who Knows the Law on Military Divorce
Military divorces are especially complex, so it’s important to hire a divorce attorney who has experience representing clients in military divorces. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and can work with you to achieve a fair and equitable division of the military retirement benefits.
The Military Divorce Attorneys at Schneider Law Firm, P.C. Can Help
At Schneider Law Firm, P.C., our experienced family law attorneys can help you navigate the complexities of your military divorce and provide clear guidance that protects your interests in a military pension.