Military Divorce


Military members and their spouses have a unique set of concerns and priorities when deciding to divorce. We are here to assist either the service member or the spouse who is serving or has served in any branch of the armed forces whether active duty, reserves, or retired. Having a full understanding of the distinct financial considerations and timelines facing the military community is crucial to a successful and informed outcome to a military divorce.

Some issues to consider for military families considering divorce:

  • Dividing the military member’s retirement and thrift savings plan is part of Virginia’s property division or equitable distribution
  • The 20/20/20 Rule: This involves the military member serving at least 20 years (20 years of service credible for retirement pay), the military couple being married for at least 20 years, and those two 20-year periods overlapping with one another. If you have a military spouse that meets the 20/20/20 Rule, this may be very beneficial. After divorce, the former spouse is no longer considered a dependent or “mil spouse.” Under the 20/20/20 Rule, the former spouse may be eligible for some valuable benefits such as Tricare, retaining their official DoD military ID card providing the former spouse with use of commissaries and base and/or post exchanges
  • Survivor Benefit Plan (“SBP”): SBP can provide up to 55% of a service member’s retired pay to an eligible beneficiary upon the death of the member
  • VA Disability Benefits: How Veteran’s Administration disability benefits may impact the marital share of the military retirement
  • GI Bill Benefits: Questions arise as to the transferability of the different GI Bill benefits and whether the Virginia Courts can order the service member to share these benefits. (Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits, Montgomery GI Bill Benefits)
  • SGLI: Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance benefits

The list above is just a few considerations when handling a military divorce. Some basic factors to consider when choosing the right attorney to handle your military divorce are: Does the attorney know the common acronyms such as DFAS, BAH, DD214, UCMJ, TSP, etc? Does the attorney know how to read and interpret an LES accurately? Having a family law attorney who is familiar with the military culture, knowledgeable of military benefits, and has extensive experience serving the military community with their family law needs, is critical to a successful outcome.

The team at Phillips & Peters has that knowledge and is thankful for military members and their spouses for their service and sacrifice to our country. Our Virginia attorneys and paralegals are here to serve you with valuable experience in handling military divorce, and we will strategically guide you toward your desired goals.

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