Military personnel in Illinois are likely aware of the Blended Retirement System set to go into effect in January 2018. The system will impact not only military retirement, but many other aspects of military life as well. According to a military family law attorney, the BRS may cause frustration and more work in military divorce cases.
Families represent a critical support system for military personnel in Illinois, but not all marriages withstand the extra pressures of serving the country. The Pentagon tracks divorce rates among all service members and separates figures for men and women. In 2016, divorces among men in the military remained stable at 2.6 percent. Divorces among servicewomen, however, rose in 2016 to 6.6 percent from 6.2 percent in 2015.
Divorce is often an emotional time for Illinois couples. Whether a case is legally challenging depends on a number of factors, including whether one or both spouses are serving in the military. While military divorces can be straightforward, it is important that all parties understand the laws and rules involved.
Military service members in Illinois who are wishing to divorce might need to be aware of how the process differs from those that solely proceed within the civilian arena. There are certain federal laws governing divorces, support issues, division of pensions and other relevant matters that are important.
Military personnel in Illinois involved in a divorce should be aware of new requirements for submitting court orders regarding the division of military retirement pay to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 authorized the changes, and failure to provide the required information to the accounting office will delay the distribution of benefits.
In Illinois, if a couple divorces and one of them is a veteran, the veteran's benefits may be used toward child support or alimony even though normally VA benefits cannot be seized. This is known as "family support", and multiple states in a number of different cases have ruled that this is an appropriate exception. In child support cases, disability may be considered as income.
Illinois residents who are married to a member of the military and getting a divorce may wonder how their healthcare and other benefits will change. What happens after a divorce depends on the length of the marriage, how long a spouse has served in the military and the amount of time military service and marriage overlapped.
If you live in Illinois and are either married to a military service member or are one yourself, you may wonder about how the court will treat yours or your spouse's military pension in the asset division portion of your divorce. Under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act, the state's courts are allowed to handle military pensions as well as other retirement benefits in the property division portion of the proceedings.