Property division and military pensions in Missouri

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Friday, August 28, 2015.

The many members of the military and their families living in Missouri routinely make sacrifices and endure the harsh realities of a lifestyle that few people outside of the armed forces can understand or appreciate. When service members go through a divorce, they experience the same emotional stresses as civilian couples, but they must also confront family legal issues unique to the military.

Military¬†pensions and benefits¬†technically fall under the jurisdiction of federal law, but a divorce is handled in state court under state law. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act is a federal law that grants state courts the authority to treat the pension benefits of service members and former members of the military in the same manner as they would pensions from other sources.

A court in Saint Charles dealing with military pension as part of the property division portion of a divorce would first determine if the pension is to be treated as separate property or marital property. If it is marital property, then the court will decide the amount payable to each spouse.

One difference between a military pension and a civilian pension is that federal law provides for the direct payment by the federal Defense Finance and Accounting service in accordance with the order of the state court. This will occur as long as the parties were married for at least 10 years, and the 10 years of marriage overlapped at least 10 years of service in the armed forces. This is referred to as either the 10/10 rule or the 10-year rule.

Even if a couple has not satisfied the 10-year rule, the state court may still treat it as part of the property division. A Saint Charles divorce and family law attorney can assist military members and their families with family legal issues that are unique to the armed services.

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