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The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act

While divorce can be an incredibly stressful and isolating experience for any family, the attorneys at the Law office of Roland R. Esparza, P.C., understand that military families can face unique difficulties. If you are in the process of divorcing a member of the armed forces, it is important that you understand your legal rights and obligations.

According to military.com, the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act was enacted by the U.S. Congress to address military divorce issues regarding property division. USFSPA guidelines allow you, as the spouse of a service member, to continue to be eligible for military retirement pay and benefits under a number of circumstances. Disposable military retirement pay can be divided as marital property in divorce proceedings under the USFSPA because it is considered a pension plan. And because the USFSPA allows for the division of military retirement pay to be regarded according to state law, it is sometimes also subject to garnishment in alimony and child support cases.

In addition to being eligible to receive your soon-to-be ex-husband or wife’s disposable military retirement pay, the USFSPA also accounts for your right to maintain a number of military benefits, including continued access to military health care and commissary facilities. You, as the former spouse, can be identified as a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary if your divorce agreement or court order specifies the arrangement, for instance. It is important to note, however, that your right to military retirement benefits can depend upon a number of factors, including:

  • The length of your marriage.
  • The amount of time that your ex spouse served in the military.
  • The amount of time that you were married while your spouse was in the military.

Visit our web page today to learn more about USFSPA protections and other military family law issues.

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