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There are misconceptions concerning a military divorce

A marriage comes with many pressures, and when one or both spouses are active-duty service members, the stress may prove to be too much for the relationship. At that point, a dissolution may be the best option. There are some misconceptions concerning the differences between a military divorce and a civilian one. Colorado residents who may be considering filing a petition for a divorce may be tempted to believe some of the more common misconceptions.

The most commonly held myth is that a spouse who has spent at least 10 years in a military marriage is entitled to a 50 percent share of the other spouse's retirement pay. While this is a common belief, it may or may not be true based on an individual's circumstances. This fallacy is based on the regulation that was enacted to protect the financial interests of a former spouse. The statute does state that if certain conditions apply, then a spouse may qualify for direct payments of retirement monies through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. This does not denote that a former spouse will be granted half of the other's retirement benefits.

Another commonly held fallacy is that regulation AR 608-99 sets the amount that a military member will be required to pay a family member for support. This regulation is mainly intended as a guideline for a commanding officer when a spouse files a complaint over lack of support from a service member during the divorce process. This provides a reference for the amount that a commander may order a soldier to pay until a court makes a final determination.

A military divorce will be handled in the court system of the state where it was filed. The divorce itself is remarkably similar to a civilian one, including the rights of the spouses to arrive at a mutually agreeable settlement. Military members do have access to legal assistance through their base that can help clarify some regulations, but they cannot provide legal representation. Colorado residents may choose to consult with a family law attorney who is well versed in military procedures in order to ensure that the settlement is as equitable as possible.

Source:, "Sorting myth from facts about military divorce", Capt. Hyun Muniz, March 8, 2018

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