Divorcing couples in Arkansas have to divide property or have the courts do it for them. The bigger the asset, the more likely spouses are to disagree about what to do with it. Retirement accounts and pensions are among the most valuable property you may share with your spouse, and they are frequently the source of contention.
As someone who has spent years pursuing a military career, your pension is something you likely feel defensive about it and want to protect. At what point in your marriage does your spouse have a potential claim to some of your military pension?
Military rules don’t determine the division of your property
A lot of people don’t understand how family law proceedings affect military families. One of the more common misconceptions is the belief that military rule, not civilian law, dictates what happens with a military pension.
Many people have heard of the 10/10 rule, but they don’t understand what the rule actually says. They may assume that only those married for 10 years have to share a portion of their military pension with their spouse in a divorce. However, that is not accurate. Arkansas civil law determines how you divide your property.
Under community property rules, you will likely have to share a portion of the pension benefits you earned during the marriage. Even if your marriage has not lasted 10 years, contributions to your pension during the marriage are marital property that you have to share.
What the 10/10 rule actually does
If you have been married for at least 10 years and have been an active-duty servicemember for at least 10 years while married, then your spouse may receive a payout of pension benefits from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.
Otherwise, the courts will have to arrange for you to make payments to them or give them other assets. Although many people resent the idea of sharing military benefits such as pension with their spouse, they could do more harm than good fighting against legal obligations to their spouse that the courts will likely never waive.
Learning more about unique military family law rules is a good way to prepare for an Arkansas military divorce.