For those considering ending their marriages, the procedural process is the same whether one is a civilian or military personnel. However, there are some extenuating factors for those who are contemplating a military divorce. Military couples in Wyoming and elsewhere should have a basic understanding of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act. The USFSPA provides federal guidelines to states on issues such as military retirement, spousal support and child support.

For an ex-spouse to qualify and receive direct retirement payments through the Defense Finance Accounting Service, a couple must have been married at least 10 years, overlapping 10 service years. The maximum payment amount to a former spouse cannot exceed 50 percent of the retirement pay. Those who do not meet eligibility requirements for DFAS may be entitled to receive a portion of retirement benefits through the divorce settlement agreement.

Length of service and the number of years married play a huge part in determining whether medical benefits will continue after a divorce. Eligibility is determined by the 20/20/20 rule. To continue medical coverage also known as Tricare, the length of marriage must exceed 20 years, and the ex-spouse must have 20 years of service in the military with the marriage and service time overlapping by 15 years. Tricare benefits can continue for up to 12 months as long as he or she does not remarry.

Ironing out settlement details during a divorce can be complicated and confusing. Couples in Wyoming who are considering a divorce may benefit from consulting with an attorney who has extensive military divorce experience. Through the diligence of a dedicated lawyer, a fair and reasonable settlement can be reached that will appease both parties.