What Do I Need to Know About Military Divorce?

service member taking off wedding ring

As a service member or spouse of a service member, filing for divorce may be more of a complex process. Our Norman divorce attorneys have over a decade of experience representing service members and their spouses in divorce and child custody matters.

If you are a service member or the spouse of a service member considering divorce, call our military divorce attorneys today at (405) 266-5072 to schedule a free consultation.

Important Considerations for a Military Divorce

When filing for divorce, you should lay out any concerns or priorities that you should consider. While most people consider child custody, the division of assets, the care of pets, and spousal or child support while preparing to file for divorce, military families have more considerations when filing for divorce.

Determining Residency

As a service family, you may have moved often, making it difficult to establish state residency. In many cases, individuals are considered residency after living and working in a state for six or more months. With the difference in residency requirements for each state, an individual may file for divorce in a state they have residency, but no longer live in.

In Oklahoma, one member of the couple must live in the state for at least the immediate six months before the petition for divorce is filed. However, if one party has lived on a military base in the state of Oklahoma for at least six months, they can also file for divorce. If neither of these conditions has been met and the divorce is filed, the courts will dismiss the case, and you will have to refile.

Child Custody

Child custody agreements can often be difficult to form, but when you add in the additional logistics of a parent deployed overseas or living apart from their children, it can seem like an impossible task. There are federal laws in place to protect the child custody rights of service members, even if the member is deployed overseas or on another base.

When pursuing a divorce with children, you may want to create a plan for child custody and support that benefits all parties involved: both parents and their children.

Military Pensions and Benefits

In Oklahoma, military pay, military pensions, and benefits are considered marital property, which means they will be included in the equitable division of assets. However, the distribution of military pensions and benefits can become difficult, as they often have to follow guidelines to distribute benefits.

The division of pensions and benefits often is related to the length of the marriage, the length of time served by the military member, and the overlapping length of marriage and time served. With these three factors in mind, there are two main ways that the courts split retirement benefits: the 10/10 and 20/20 rules.

The 10/10 Rule

Courts will only consider the 10/10 rule if the couple was married for at least ten years while the service member completed at least ten years of military service. After meeting the 10/10 rule, the civilian spouse can directly receive direct payment for their portion of retirement pay. The 10/10 rule only relates to military pay and pensions; for benefits, a couple must hit the requirements of the 20/20 rule.

The 20/20 Rule

The court uses the 20/20 rule for a former spouse who would like to continue to receive military pay and health care benefits. To qualify for continued health care from the military, the spouse must prove:

  • Their spouse served at least 20 years of creditable service in any military branch,

  • Their marriage lasted at least 20 years, and

  • Their marriage continued for at least 20 years while their spouse was actively serving in their military position.

If their spouse can prove all of these items during their divorce, they may be eligible to continue to receive their healthcare through the military.

Need Help Filing For Divorce As a Member of a Military Family?

If you are a service member or the spouse of a service member and you wish to file for divorce, contact our Norman military divorce attorneys today. With over ten years of guiding military members and their families through the divorce process, our team at Redhawk Law is here to answer any questions you have about the divorce of a military member.

Call us today at (405) 266-5072 to schedule a free consultation with our military divorce attorneys.

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