The law falls under USFSPA (The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act) which a spouse that has been married to a servicemember for at least 10 years while the SM was in the service. There are also 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 rules that are applicable. And this falls under the state (in which you were married) to decide.http://www.divorcenet.com/stat...divorce_and_pensions
Is the Former Spouse Entitled to a Portion of the Military Spouse’s Pension?
Yes. The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) permits state courts to apply the family law principles of their particular state when deciding how to divide military pensions in divorce. Click here for the full text of the USFSPA. Under the USFSPA, state divorce courts can award a military pension to the service member or divide it between the spouses. If the pension is awarded entirely to the service member, courts may compensate the spouse for his or her share of the military pension from other marital assets.
How Does the Former Spouse Receive a Share of the Military Pension?
Ask about the pension
If you’re the spouse of a service member and you’re considering a divorce, you need to understand that you should address the military pension during the divorce proceeding – not once it’s over. This is true even if retirement seems like a long way off. Ultimately, if you want to receive some portion of your spouse’s retired pay, you should get a court order that divides the military pension.
Militarytimes is notorious on this topic.http://forums.militarytimes.co...ion-Act-%28USFSPA%29
SBP (survivor benefit plan) is a program that a retiree can place a portion of his retirement into an account and when he dies; the surviving spouse can receive up to 55 percent of his pension.
So if my monthly pension is $4000.00 a month when I die; my spouse will then receive $2200.00 (55% of $4000) a month until she passes (based on the contribution payments)
So to address the OP's old question; that will be really the only time that a spouse will receive a "pension" from the government due to their spouse's government career.http://www.military.com/benefi...-plan-explained.html