Every divorcing couple in Georgia has to address their personal property and debts when negotiating a settlement for their divorce or preparing for litigation. Military servicemembers have assets related to their careers that can quickly become central to the disputes in their divorces.
A divorce can affect everything from health insurance to the pay that a servicemember receives. If they have pursued a career in the military, rather than just a single tour of duty, their military pension could also be an issue in their upcoming divorce.
What happens to a military pension when a married couple calls it quits?
State law determines what happens to your property
Some people mistakenly think that military rules govern the division of property in modern divorces. However, you don’t file for divorce in the military courts. You must seek a divorce in the civilian family courts in the jurisdiction where you live.
Those currently stationed in Georgia or listing Georgia as their permanent residence will be subject to Georgia laws regarding property division. At least a portion of your military pension will likely be marital property that you will have to share under equitable distribution rules.
Equitable distribution involves a judge learning about the family’s history and the economic prospects of each spouse before entering what they believe is a fair ruling about splitting their property and financial obligations.
What about the 10/10 rule?
The reason that so many people believe the military courts govern the division of pensions is probably a misunderstanding of the 10/10 rule. The military does have an internal rule related to the distribution of pension benefits after a divorce. However, the military doesn’t determine how the courts divide a pension.
Instead, the 10/10 rule applies to the disbursement of funds. It’s your marriage has lasted for at least 10 years and you have had at least 10 years of active service during your marriage, then your dependent spouse can receive direct pension payments from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. Otherwise, you may have to make payments when receiving your pension or split other property in a way that reflects the value of the pension accrued during the marriage.
Putting certain myths about military divorce to rest can help you better prepare for your divorce proceedings and your life after divorce.