If you are a military veteran and going through a divorce, you may find yourself concerned that you might lose some of your military benefits through the division of marital property. Eligibility for commissary, exchange and healthcare benefits and your retirement pay are all common concerns for divorcing vets.
The most important aspect to be determined when a military member is divorcing is their state of residence. Often times military personnel are not residence of the state where divorce proceedings commence and unless the Court can make a determination that you are a resident of that state, then that state court may not have jurisdiction to divide up your military pension. In those instances the non-military spouse would need to bring an action in the state of the military members residence for the retirement benefits, however, the military member can concede jurisdiction to the state handling the divorce proceedings in order to resolve all issues.
Military retirement benefits (pension) and any TSP account, are considered marital property and Colorado has a specific formula that is to be used to divide those retirement benefits. That statutory formula can help determine the percentage of the military pension that is subject to division with the former spouse. In addition, the Court may require continued enrollment in the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP). If the SBP is required to continue, the former spouse is usually required to pay for the SBP cost.
As far as other benefits like commissary and health care for a former military spouse, the former spouse can only qualify for their own military ID card if the service member spent 20 years or more of creditable service and if the parties were married for 20 years or longer. In those cases, former spouses are entitled to receive full benefits through the rules promulgated by the military.
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