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Miltary Divorce FAQ

What is The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP)?

It is an annuity program that allows retired military personnel to care for and  provide continuing income for family members or beneficiaries when the service member dies.

How much money does the beneficiary receive with SBP?

The designated beneficiary will receive a  lifetime annuity for 55% of the designated base amount (10 U.S.C. Section 1451 (a)(1)(A).

How much is the SBP premium? 

Generally, the rate is 6.5% of the selected base amount for the spouse or former spouse for service members who joined military service after March 1, 1990.

What are some of the advantages of SBP?

No one needs to qualify for coverage, no one needs to take any physical or be seen by a doctor, and coverage will not end if premiums are paid.

What are some of the disadvantages of SBP?

Cost and benefits are suspended if the former spouse beneficiary remarries before age 55.

How do I determine how much my spouse will receive from my military pension if we divorce?

The formula is essentially marriage concurrent with military service divided by years of military service, times 50%.  For example,  a wife who was married to the service member for  5 years while the service member was on active duty for 20 years would receive 12.5% of her husband’s military retirement.

Is a former spouse entitled to any percent of the retired service members VA disability pay?

Generally, no.

What is the 10 year rule?

A spouse must be married to a service member for at least 10 years of the service members total military service and the service member must retire from the service for the former spouse to receive direct payment from DFAS of her share of her ex spouse’s military retirement.

What income is included in determining a service member’s child support obligation?

Generally, one would use base pay, BAH, BAS, along with any other incidental pay, like hazardous duty, to determine the amount of the service member’s child support obligation.

Does DFAS automatically pay former spouse if 10 year rule is satisfied?

No.  DFAS must be  served within 1 year of divorce (if by service member/retiree) or one year of order granting coverage (if by non military spouse), there must be entry of an order granting former spouse coverage at time of divorce, and the order must be acceptable to DFAS.

What can the former spouse expect if the length of time that marriage overlaps with the service member/spouse’s service creditable for retirement purposes is 20 years or more?

Division of retired pay, designation as an SBP beneficiary, full health care, commissary privileges, and PX privileges.
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