Choosing to serve one’s country through military service is not a decision to be taken lightly. The same decision process applies when a marriage is entered into or when that same relationship is no longer viable. Though a military divorce in Colorado is not radically different from a civilian dissolution, there are some key differences.
The majority of these differences surround the issues relating to benefits. For the most part, the federal government desires that issues relating to child custody and divorce are guided by the statutes of the particular state the military member resides in during the divorce process. This matter is addressed by the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, specifically when it deals with retirement pay and how it is to be divided. Furthermore, this Act allows the states to treat retirement pay as property rather than income.
In general, when a military couple divorces, the duration of the marriage and time of service are key points. In order for a spouse to be eligible for an equal share of the benefit through direct payment, both the marriage and the time of service must have lasted a minimum of 10 years. Even if that qualification was not met, the spouse may still be given a portion of the retirement benefits. In addition to the retirement pay, there are a few other benefits that may apply.
Access to the military base, health care coverage and the savings plan are all matters that may apply during a military divorce. The maximum amount that a former spouse may receive from a service member’s retirement plan is a 50 percent share; however, if child support or alimony is to be included, then up to 65 percent of the retirement benefits could be allocated — depending on the particular circumstances. Divorce can be a complicated and confusing process, especially when special circumstances exist. The assistance of an experienced Colorado divorce attorney may prove to be a tremendous asset.
Source: military.com, “Understanding Divorce in the Military“, Accessed on June 9, 2017