For many Maryland residents, divorce can be a black and white topic. It generally involves changing life plans, new arrangements for children and other financial aspects. Through an emotional lens, divorce can mean the ending of one chapter and the beginning of a fresh one.
While the above is true for most, there are some situations that prove more complex. This term has the same meaning for those in the military, but can come with different factors that affect the process. Learning about those potential factors can make this difficult situation a smoother one for everyone involved.
One article from the online Military magazine states that a crucial part of military divorce is the understanding of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, which contains a military federal statute. Through the USFSPA, those in the military who are going through divorce can find information on spousal and child support, as well as military retirement pay and pension. Military adds that states can dictate the details of retirement and pension, but they also have the authority to classify retired pay in the military as property. One rule, however, is that a marriage must last 10 years and must have overlapped with 10 years of service before qualifying for direct retirement payments from the military. There are other guidelines regarding marital share listed under Military’s article on divorce.
According to The People’s Law Library of Maryland, although states have the authority to handle retired pay, this type of financial benefit to former spouses is not an entitlement. Dovetailing with the aforementioned guidelines on the classification of retired pay as property, a final court order can include the following: dissolution of marriage, divorce decree, legal separation, court-ordered property settlement or annulment. Because each situation can be unique, there are additional guidelines on military divorce that may apply.