Oklahoma City Law Firm Of Brown & Gould

7 Facts You Should Know about Military Divorce in Oklahoma


Military divorce is a complicated process, especially in Oklahoma. Any civilians or members of the military can benefit from hiring a lawyer who understands the complexities of federal guidelines and state laws applying to these divorces. Here are 7 important things to know about divorce in the military. 

1. In Oklahoma, the civilian spouse is entitled to some of the service member’s military retired pay

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that addresses many of the issues that come up when members of the military divorce. The USFSPA offers some financial protection to civilian former spouses of military members, but only in certain cases.

When it comes to determining whether a civilian spouse is entitled to any of the service member’s retirement pay, the USFSPA leaves it up to the law of the state in which the divorce is filed. The state must treat disposable retired pay as a marital asset and is required to divide the pay in accordance with the laws of that state. Oklahoma law entitles the civilian spouse to an equitable portion of the service member’s retirement earned during their marriage.

2. Military retired pay may be subject to garnishment

A military service member’s retirement pay may be garnished to satisfy alimony judgments and/or child support. These payments are not contingent on the length of the marriage.

3. Retirement pay may not continue after the death of the service member

The civilian former spouse will not receive their share of the retirement pay after the death of the service member – unless the military pay division includes the Survivor Benefit Plan, either as awarded to the civilian former spouse at the time of the divorce or elected by the service member at the time of the divorce.

4. A civilian former spouse may receive direct retired pay from the military

The military may pay the civilian former spouse directly if the spouse was married to a member of the military for 10 or more years during the time the service member performed 10 years of creditable service.

5. Remarrying may not affect retired pay

The civilian former spouse may marry someone else without losing their share of the retired pay, but remarrying may affect their survivorship rights covered under the Survivor Benefit Plan.

6. You must live in Oklahoma for 6 months before filing a petition for divorce

You must be a resident of any U.S. military post or military reservation in Oklahoma for at least 6 months before you can file for divorce. Exceptions do apply, though, such as for filing for divorce on the grounds of insanity and either spouse is in an institution outside of the state.

7. A civilian former spouse may continue receiving commissary, exchange, and healthcare benefits after a divorce

To receive these benefits, a civilian former spouse must meet the requirements to be considered a 20/20/20 former spouse.

Only civilian former spouses who meet certain requirements can receive these benefits. To qualify, the civilian former spouse must be a “20/20/20 spouse” who can show that:

  • The service member had gained at least 20 years of creditable service
  • The marriage lasted 20 years or more
  • The military service member and civilian spouse were married during the 20 years of creditable service

Contact Brown & Gould For More Information About Military Divorce

Navigating the family law system in Oklahoma can be challenging, especially for members of the military and their civilian spouses. For more information about military divorce in Oklahoma, consult with the family law professionals at Brown & Gould. We offer quality representation for individuals and families throughout Oklahoma and Texas.

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Brown & Gould, PLLC,
136 NW 10th Street
Suite 200
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Phone: 405-235-4500
Fax: 405-235-4507    
The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, law office of Brown & Gould, PLLC, serves the nearby cities of Moore, Norman, Edmond, Nichols Hills, Midwest City, Del City, Yukon, Mustang, El Reno, Shawnee, Tulsa and other areas, including Oklahoma County, Cleveland County, Canadian County, McClain County, Pottawatomie County, Tulsa County, Logan County and throughout the state of Texas in the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Austin.