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.
There is no one more committed than a military spouse. It is a difficult job when his or her partner is deployed in another part of the world. In the realm of deployment, spouses are the silent heroes who hold a military family together. In Wyoming and elsewhere, the military divorce rate of the 689,060 married soldiers was 21,290 in 2017.
The divorce rate among military personnel has been holding steady for the fourth year in a row. Statistics show that the rate continues to hover between 3 and 3.1 percent. Military divorce rate numbers are compiled by calculating the number of enlisted troops who are married in the personnel system at the beginning of the year and comparing it with the number of military divorces over the year. In Wyoming and other states, military marriages have seen a steady decline in recent years.
The retirement plan of U.S. military service people is changing next year, reports one news outlet. They write that, in 2018, the pension plan will be reduced, and the Department of Defense will then begin automatic and matching contributions into Thrift Savings Plans for service members. Some say the change may have unforeseen effects on divorce settlements. Although divorce rates are dropping, the new change could potentially affect many people in Wyoming.
The path a person chooses for their career can affect their life in many ways. It appears that some jobs by their very nature predispose couples to seek divorce. A recent news article highlights a review of U.S. Census data, and demonstrates that a military career can in fact lead to military divorce in Wyoming and all across the United States.
An issue of how military pensions are distributed in divorce has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Previously, in Wyoming and beyond, it was unclear if a disabled ex-spouse is responsible to make up the reduction in an ex-spouse's retirement benefits when the military pension is reduced due to receiving disability pay. The policy has varied from state to state, making the specifics of military divorce murky. Recently, the Supreme Court made the issue clearer by ruling that disabled ex-spouses do not have to make up any shortfalls if military pension payments are reduced for disability payments.
Military life has many unique aspects. This includes in what benefits a person has access to. Here in the U.S., there are structures in place which provide special benefits to members of the military and their family. This includes military retirement benefits and military health benefits.
Whether a divorce is amicable or not, it can be a battle unto itself. The process has even more concerns for veterans or those currently serving in the military. Here are the special circumstances of a military divorce that all members should know: