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The “10/10” rule, also sometimes known as the “20/10/10” rule, is a rule used to determine whether a former spouse of a military service member will receive direct payment from the Defense Finance Accounting Service after divorce. 

New Mexico, and many other states, consider military retirement benefits and other benefits communal property for the purposes of marital property division during divorce. The divorcing spouse of a service member may be awarded a portion of the service member’s eventual retirement benefits as part of the divorce decree. The 10 10 rule is used to determine whether those benefits will be paid directly by DFAS or by some other means.

The New Mexico Financial & Family Law Firm can assist you with interpreting the military retirement divorce 10 10 rule and other matters of military divorce law. The laws surrounding military divorce can be confusing, especially when it comes to receiving benefits and other privileges once the marriage has ended. We work with military service members and their spouses to help them understand the law, examine their legal options, and proceed with the legal strategy that has the best chance of fulfilling their goals.

Speak to us during a confidential, no-risk consultation when you call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online today.

What Is the 10 10 Rule for Military Divorce?

Simply put, the 10 10 rule establishes a minimum amount of time for the non-service-member spouse to satisfy before they can receive any awarded retirement benefits directly from DFAS. The numbers refer to the following durations:

  • The marriage must have lasted a minimum of 10 years
  • The marriage must have overlapped with at least 10 years of service

Also, in order for a service member to be entitled to receive retirement benefits at all, they must serve in the military for at least 20 years. This fact is why the above rule is sometimes referred to as the military spouse 20 10 10 rule.

What Does It Mean to Get Paid Directly by DFAS?

DFAS is the acronym for the U.S. Defense Finance Accounting Service. When a military service member is eligible to receive military retirement benefits, they will receive a monthly payment of these benefits in the form of a check or direct deposit from DFAS.

Getting your money directly from DFAS is reliable, convenient, and all but failproof. The alternative for couples that do not satisfy the 10 10 rule is that any awarded military retirement benefits will be paid directly by the military service member themself. This situation means that an individual will have to send a check or deposit monthly, which can be less reliable should financial issues come up, and it may also mean other complications.

Receiving payment from DFAS is, therefore, ideal. However, couples who did not meet the 10 10 rule at the time of their divorce do have other options for arranging timely payment of awarded military retirement benefits. These can include automatic banking transfers, manual payment apportionment, and other options.

Do You Have to Meet the Military 10 10 Rule to Receive a Portion of Retirement Benefits?

No. Former spouses of military service members are able to access a number of possible benefits, assets, and privileges post-divorce regardless of the duration of the marriage.

However, the amount of benefits awarded only corresponds to the portion accrued during the time of the marriage. Also important to note is that any property or benefits can only be awarded as part of the divorce decree. Divorcing military couples will have to consider all assets and benefits carefully when coming to a final agreement and arrangement for the divorce.

Examine Your Legal Options During or After Military Divorce With New Mexico Financial & Family Law

Our firm has decades of experience representing clients in court and in legal proceedings. We proudly serve military service members and their families and seek to give them the best information possible when it comes to divorce proceedings. Our goal is to inform you of all the legal factors at hand, reveal your possible options, and help you pursue a strategy that has the best chance of fulfilling your goals.

Military divorce can be complicated, and a lot may be at stake. Let us help guide you while simplifying the process and reducing your stress. Reach out to learn how we have helped military spouses and military service members just like you during divorce proceedings.

Call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online today to schedule a no-risk, no-obligation consultation.

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