Are you or your spouse a member of the military, and you’re contemplating getting a divorce in Virginia?. If so, then it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of how a military divorce can affect the benefits you and your spouse are entitled to receive. Many military families often wonder what’s going to happen to their benefits, post-divorce. This blog post will give you information on how divorce may impact military benefits.
1. Military Retirement Benefits
Retirement benefits are one of the most significant benefits that a military service member can receive. If you or your spouse is a military service member who has served for more than ten years, then you are entitled to receive a retirement benefit. In Virginia, this benefit is considered to be an asset, and it is subject to equitable distribution. When dividing these benefits, the court considers the length of the marriage, the duration of the military service, and other factors. Retirement benefits can be divided up between spouses according to the court’s judgment.
2. Housing Allowance
The housing allowance, or Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), is another significant benefit that military members receive. During the divorce proceeding, the non-military spouse may receive a percentage of the BAH if it is determined that the service member’s housing costs would have been shared if not for the divorce. This is referred to as the “Duckworth Formula,” and it is calculated based on how much the service member would have received if they were still married. The amount of BAH that is subject to division depends on various factors.
3. Health Care Benefits
Military service members and their dependents receive healthcare benefits through the Military Health System. A divorce can lead to a change in the applicability of these benefits. If you were married to your service member for a minimum of 20 years and they served a minimum of 20 years, you may continue to receive these healthcare benefits after the divorce. In the event of a shorter marriage or service period, you may only receive the benefit for a limited time after your divorce.
4. Survivor Benefit Plan
Military service members have the option to enroll in a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) to provide eligible survivors with an ongoing income survivor annuity after their death. In a divorce, the service member may be required to select the former spouse as the SBP beneficiary to comply with a court order. This provides the non-military spouse annuity payments should the service member pass away.
5. Thrift Savings Plan
The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) provides many military members with the opportunity to save money for their retirement. In a divorce, this plan may be subject to division by the court. This court authorizes the division of the TSP account, which is then subject to other rules for taking an early withdrawal and other tax consequences.
Military Divorce Lawyer in Virginia
When you are getting a military divorce in Virginia, it’s crucial to know how military benefits can be impacted. Seek legal assistance from an experienced military divorce lawyer in Virginia who understands how military benefits work and how to ensure they are protected. At Invictus Law, we specialize in military divorce cases and can help you navigate the complexities of military benefits and ensure you receive everything you are entitled to in your divorce settlement. Contact us today for a consultation by calling 757-856-5066.