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Special considerations in a military divorce

Individuals in Alaska who are divorcing and are in the military may have some special considerations to keep in mind. Military divorces differ from other types of divorces. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act is a key part of military divorces. It suggests following state statutes regarding support. However, whether or not an individual's official state of residency is Alaska, military retired pay is considered property instead of income according to the USFSPA, and this affects asset division. The military also has specific guidelines regarding a spouse's claims on pension.

An individual may or may not be eligible for direct pay of a portion of the spouse's retirement in a military divorce. A marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years, and the period of the marriage must have overlapped with 10 years of service. This means that a marriage of 15 years with only five years of overlapping service would not result in direct pension pay, but a marriage of 11 years in which one individual was in the military the entire time would.

For military personnel who are not retired, there is a formula for calculating the amount of pension an individual will be entitled to. These options may include waiting until retirement to calculate the amount, calculating at the time of divorce but waiting until retirement for dispersal or doing a buyout up front.

Pensions and other aspects of military life such as survivor benefits and the thrift savings plan all have certain requirements associated with them in the case of a divorce. Individuals who are in the military or who have a spouse in the military and are contemplating a divorce may wish to speak with an attorney to ensure they receive the benefits they are due.

Source:, "Understanding Divorce in the Military", August 19, 2014

Source:, "Understanding Divorce in the Military", August 19, 2014

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