How Is Military Retirement Split During A Military Divorce?

by James Garrett on July 14, 2012

Attorney Anneshia Miller Grant

Attorney Anneshia Miller Grant

Due to the extensive military presence in Hampton Roads, it is no surprise that many divorces filed in Virginia Beach are filed by military members or military spouses. Military divorces in Virginia Beach are subject to the same state guidelines as any civilian divorce, but they are also subject to federal regulations, the most frequent being the Uniformed Services Former Spouse’s Protection Act (USFSPA).

Under the USFSPA, a military spouse is entitled to a portion of a military member’s retirement. Unless the military spouse waives this entitlement, the federal law requires Virginia divorce courts to enforce this act. It is important that your military divorce attorney is familiar with the federal laws and is knowledgeable of drafting a proper Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

Military retirement pay is subject to distribution under the 20/20/20 rule. The USFSPA mandates that any spouse who a) has been married for 20 years or more to a military service member, who b) has at least 20 years of qualified military service, and c) those two periods overlap by at least 20 years, is entitled to one-half of the military member’s retirement pay. In those military divorces that do not qualify under the 20/20/20 rule, military retirement pay is still subject to distribution under Virginia equitable distribution laws.

If you are a military service member, or a military spouse considering filing for divorce, it is important to discuss your situation with a divorce attorney familiar with military divorce issues. Please contact our office today for a free consultation. (757) 422-4646. Our attorneys are available to answer your questions 24/7/365.


Anneshia Miller Grant is a family law attorney in the Virginia Beach office of Garrett Law Group, PLC. She has years of experience representing clients in the courts of Virginia Beach, Norfolk and surrounding areas. Knowledgeable in all areas of family law, she is particularly experienced with issues of military divorce and military retirement issues.

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