Don’t Let Your Military Divorce Turn into a Fubar Situation!
By Duncan E. White, Owner
Inkpointe Divorce Solutions, LLC
Military divorces can be complicated, especially when it comes to dividing benefits. Military families often have unique benefits that civilians do not have access to, such as military pensions, health insurance, and survivor benefits. These benefits are considered assets and may be subject to division during the divorce process.
As we all know, the government is special! Therefore, they have their own special rules, their own special paperwork and their own special processes for getting things done.
If you or your spouse is a service member, it is critical to understand the implications of military benefits and how they will be divided during the divorce process. Here are some things to keep in mind:
One of the first things to consider is which state has jurisdiction over your divorce. In most cases, you will file for divorce in the state where you or your spouse is currently residing. However, if one of you is a service member, you may have the option to file in the state where the service member is stationed. This is important because different states have different laws regarding the division of military benefits.
One of the most valuable benefits of military service is the military pension. Military pensions are considered marital property and may be subject to division during the divorce. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) allows states to divide military pensions as marital property. This means that the non-military spouse may be entitled to a portion of the pension. Make sure you get your fair share of the benefit! Even if you didn’t serve, you supported someone who did. Don’t ever forget that!
Military families have access to survivor benefits, which provide financial support to surviving spouses after the service member’s death. These benefits may also be subject to division during divorce. It is important to consider survivor benefits when negotiating a divorce settlement, especially if the non-military spouse will be relying on these benefits for financial support.
Military families have access to affordable health insurance through TRICARE. After divorce, the non-military spouse may be eligible to continue receiving health insurance benefits through the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP) for up to 36 months. This program allows the non-military spouse to continue receiving health insurance coverage at a reduced rate. This can be a tremendous help if you are trying to get back on your feet.
Child Support and Alimony
Military service may also affect child support and alimony payments. For example, military service may result in additional income through bonuses and allowances. It is important to work with an experienced professional, like a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®), to ensure that child support and alimony payments are calculated correctly and fairly.
Divorcing as a military family can be quite complex. Like everything else military related, it’s not the same as being a civilian. It is important to work with someone who has experience with military divorces and understands the unique challenges that military families face. With the help of a CDFA®, you can navigate the divorce process with confidence and strengthen your financial interests.
Duncan E. White is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®) and has been a licensed financial advisor since 2010. He leads a Second Saturday Divorce Workshop each month for the benefit of those seeking information about the divorce process.
For more information, click here.
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. LPL Financial and Inkpointe Divorce Solutions do not offer tax, legal or mortgage lending services or advice.