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The ‘10/10 rule’ and how it relates to military divorce

by | Sep 1, 2021 | Military Divorce |

Military life, sometimes, is hard on a marriage. Divorced couples surface throughout all branches of the armed forces. And like civilian couples, military couples have major concerns regarding money and assets. A big question that often surfaces among the spouse of a military member: Will I receive my fair share of my ex-spouse’s military pension?

A military retirement pension in considered a marital asset, accumulated during the marriage. Often, in such situations, the “10/10 rule” is cited as a reason to secure those benefits. But, in actuality, the 10/10 rule merely sets the criteria for how a former spouse of a service member collects his or her court-ordered share of the service member’s retirement pay. So what is the 10/10 rule?

Allows you to receive direct payments

A basic explanation of the 10/10 rule is that if a marriage to a military member lasted a minimum of 10 years and the military service member or retired service member served the country for at least 10 years, the ex-spouse will receive his or her fair share of the pension benefits directly paid by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). In essence, the 10/10 rule permits eligible former spouses to receive their portion of the retirement pay straight from the DFAS, which provides payment services for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Here are some of the critical benefits of receiving direct payments from the DFAS.

  • You do not have to rely on and wait for the retired service member to provide the payments. If this scenario occurred, the retiree may delay payments out of spite if there was a tempestuous divorce.
  • The chances of late or missed payments are non-existent.
  • The two former spouses have reduced contact with each other, thus avoiding any potential friction and additional conflict.
  • A DFAS-issued 1099 tax form ensures that the retired military member is not taxed on payments to the ex-spouse.

If you qualify for the retirement payments, the 10/10 rule ensures that you will not miss out on regularly receiving them, while allowing you minimal contact with your former spouse.