The answer to this straightforward question can be anything but simple.
The first step in answering this question requires an understanding of the military's prohibition on adultery.
The USFSPA provides a federal statute for the military, guiding them to accept state statutes on addressing issues, such as child support, spousal support and military retirement pay/pension.
The third and final element is where our simple question starts to become complicated.There are some states that have relaxed the residency requirements for active duty service personnel who want to file for divorce in the state he or she is stationed.Besides understanding the basic divorce process, military couples should be knowledgeable about the role of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act.Depending upon the state's date of division, the amount of time you have been married may be judged by different criteria.This means that Texas may view you as being married nine years, while California considers you having been married 10 years.Due to the inherently ambiguous nature of these various considerations, there will always be the potential for criminal liability under the UCMJ or exposure to adverse administrative action when a Soldier undertakes a new sexual relationship while still married, regardless of whether they are "legally separated." The only 100 percent safe course of action under the UCMJ is to wait until a state court has granted you a final decree of divorce, thereby making you "single" again.While the above information provides a general framework for examining our original question, every situation is unique. (July 13, 2011) -- Almost every week at the Legal Assistance Divorce & Separation Briefing, we receive the question, "If I am legally separated and start dating, can I get in trouble in the military for adultery?" Since the formal legal process of divorce can last months (or sometimes years), this question raises an important concern for anyone in uniform who is pending a divorce.Direct retirement payments are made through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.In order for the military to provide direct retirement payments to an ex-spouse, the couple must have been married 10 years overlapping with 10 years of service.