Many service members and their families retire here in Texas. If a couple's marriage does not last, all of the assets acquired or increased during the marriage are considered jointly owned under the state's community property law. This means that in a military divorce, the service member's spouse could have a right to a portion of his or her retirement pay.
Many Texas residents might be under the impression that in order to receive a portion of retirement benefits, the couple had to be married during at least 10 years of the service member's military career. That requirement only applies if the non-military spouse wants direct payments from the Department of Defense. Even if a couple was only married for a year, the court can require the service member to pay a portion of his or her retirement to the other party.
In addition, spouse's who were married during at least 20 years of the other party's military service are entitled to retain certain benefits that cannot be denied. For example, an individual can keep his or her ID card and is entitled to shop at the commissary and military exchange. A former spouse may also make use of military medical facilities unless or until he or she is covered by employer-sponsored medical insurance or remarries.
Being a military spouse has its own challenges and rewards, so even though an individual was not the military member, he or she deserves the benefits that go with service to this country. Military spouses are encouraged to take advantage of these benefits and request a portion of the service member's retirement. It would be beneficial to discuss the matter with an attorney who practices in the area of military divorce to see just what is available in a divorce.
Source: wadenapj.com, "Veterans retired pay can be used in divorce, separation", David Anderson, Dec. 4, 2016