Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act: What You Need to Know

From a legal perspective, there are few differences between the process of filing for divorce for civilian couples versus the process of filing for divorce for military couples. While the legal process is the same, it is still important to work with a divorce attorney Tampa FL military families can rely on, who understands the different factors that need to be considered when a military couple goes through a divorce.

For example, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act, or USFSPA, is a law that was enacted to address some of the issues that typically arise during military divorce proceedings.

What Is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act?

The USFSPA is a law that was passed by Congress in 1982. The intention of the law was to provide former spouses of military members with financial protection in the event of a divorce. Rather than considering retirement pay as income, the retirement pay of a military member is considered property. Through the USFSPA, the former spouse of a retired military member may be eligible to receive a portion of the retirement pay and medical benefits.

Who is Eligible for Benefits Under the USFSPA?

A former spouse is only eligible for retirement pay benefits or medical care benefits if they were married to their spouse for at least 10 years, and if their spouse was an active military member earning retirement benefits for at least 10 years of their marriage. If a former spouse does not meet these qualifications, they are not necessarily eligible for retirement pay or medical care after their divorce is complete.

Can a Military Member be Forced Into Retirement Under the USFSPA?

Naturally, some military members recognize the financial benefits that can be awarded under this law, and they become concerned that their spouse may demand that they retire as a result of the divorce proceedings. Fortunately for military members seeking a divorce, the state courts are not allowed to force a military member to retire so that their former spouse can receive immediate benefits under the USFSPA. In most cases, a former spouse will not receive USFSPA benefits until the military member has retired.

How Much Will a Former Spouse Receive Per Month?

The amount that an individual receives under the USFSPA will vary based on the state in which they live. It is up to the state courts to divide the benefits between the two parties.

For accurate and detailed information on the logistics involved in pursuing a military divorce, contact a Tampa military divorce lawyer today.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from The McKinney Law Group for their insight into finding an attorney.


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