Confusion, Myth, or Barracks Lawyers often mislead both service members and their former spouses about the 10 year rule for military retirement division in a divorce.
This rule is not:
1. a prohibition on dividing military retirement in a divorce if the marriage was less than 10 years;
2. a prohibition on dividing military retirement when the service member has less than 10 years of service.
The rule is set forth essentially to govern when DFAS will pay the retirement division directly to the former spouse and when it will not.
Division of military retirement in Oklahoma can happen in any divorce that has one party as a service member, regardless of number of years of service and number of years of marriage. However, in order for DFAS to cut the check to the former spouse then the parties had to have been married for at least 10 years and that 10 years had to be during a time of at least 10 years of creditable service towards retirement.
If this does not occur the the Courts in Oklahoma can still divide the retirement benefit if deemed equitable. In that situation the service member is responsible for the payment of the benefit to the former spouse; not DFAS.
For further information please call our office and/or review 10 U.S.C 1408