Military members and the divorce process

Military members or their spouses living in Utah may need to understand the additional considerations they have when seeking a divorce. People who are in the military will still go through the same legal procedures as apply to civilians, but there are several factors that should inform how and where they choose to proceed.

Military members may face a longer process if they are stationed abroad or are on active duty in a far-off location. Some may also have choices of where they choose to file, as a number of states allow military members to file for divorce in the state where they are stationed.

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act mandates that the military must follow state guidelines on child, spousal and other types of support. The act allows states to consider military retired pay as property rather than as income. If the marriage lasted for at least 10 years and overlapped with 10 years of service by one spouse, the other spouse will be entitled to receive direct pay of retirement benefits from the Defense Finance and Accounting Services. The military retirement pay award may also be in addition to other types of ordered support, such as child support or alimony.

When child support is also being taken from the military retirement fund, the maximum amount of combined deductions from the monthly military pension amount is 65 percent of the pension. Those who are in the military or who are the spouse of a military service member may wish to consult with a family law attorney when they are considering a divorce. The attorney can advise the client about the most beneficial place to file as well as the expected amount of retirement plan payments that might be awarded.

Source:, "Understanding Divorce in the Military", November 26, 2014

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