Divorce, especially a military divorce, pose many emotional and financial challenges for Texas couples. The impact of a divorce involves military pay and service members may face garnishment of their wages for noncompliance.

Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA), a Texas court may award military retirement pay to a former spouse. The Department of Defense (DOD), under USFSPA, can enforce these orders along with court-ordered spousal and child support by making deductions from a service member’s retirement pay or paycheck.

After 20 years of eligible service, a member of the military is entitled to retirement pay. In divorce proceedings, state courts treat this as property that may divided a marital property. Spouses though, may negotiate how this pension is divided.

Division of pension payments may be allocated as a specific dollar amount or percentage of pay. The DOD will pay a maximum of 50 percent of pension to a divorced spouse. Military personnel must directly pay any amount that exceeds this directly to their former spouse.

Under the 10/10 rule, a former spouse can receive their court-ordered part of retirement pay directly from the DOD, if they were married for at least 10 years during which the service member performed at least 10 years of service that is creditable toward eligibility for retirement.
But, the 10/10 rule only governs which entity sends the retirement check and not whether the former spouse is entitled to any retirement pay. Division of this property is negotiable between the spouses.

Each military service implements their own spousal and child support rules when there are no court orders. Military commanders have restricted legal power to enforce these payments even without a court order. The DOD, however, can send support payments directly to a former spouse, if they send the DOD an order from a court or child support agency directing the government to pay child or spousal support payments.

An experienced and qualified attorney can help spouses protect their rights and seek fair and reasonable orders. Because military divorce involved Texas and federal laws, legal representation may be significant with helping spouses during negotiations and court

Source: The Military Wallet, “Military divorce. How your pay may be affected,” accessed on Jan. 24, 2017