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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 18790
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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I am getting a divorce from my wife. We are a same-sex couple

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I am getting a divorce from my wife. We are a same-sex couple who got married in Canada on October 08, 2009 (It is legal there). I am the service member. Does the military recognize my marriage for the purposes of dividing assets and disability/pension benefits?
Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I have nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines, including JAG.

Well, whether or not the military recognizes your marriage is really not relevant to the question of division of your assets, because the military doesn't actually divorce you.

The state that you would be divorced in would make the determination of how your assets are to be divided. They certainly can conduct a divorce when the marriage itself was legal.

Now, the military presently recognizes same sex marriages, but only if you have gone through the process of placing that member's information in Deers to be a "beneficiary" would the military even recognize them. Regardless, unless you have been married 20 years (and you haven't) there are no lasting military benefits that your ex would receive from the military.

So, for purposes of dividing a military retirement, the state makes that determination and if they decide that a division is appropriate, they will name the amount and you would have to pay. The military will have nothing to do with the payment because you weren't married long enough (at least 10 years) for DFAS to send the funds directly to the former spouse. So, those funds would have to be sent directly by you, just like most civilians paying spousal support.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Does the fact that it was an international marriage affect the validity? When I first started researching, I saw that in order to divorce in Canada, I would have to live there for a year. Can New Mexico take jurisdiction?

New Mexico can divorce you. With a country like Canada, so close to us, it's not the uncommon for our courts to deal with their marriages.

But no matter where you divorce, you have to meet their residency requirements.

New Mexico has a 6 month requirement.
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