What is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act?

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2021 | Military Law

Members of the military accumulate retirement benefits from the U.S. government while they are on active duty. They may also qualify for government benefits after they retire or otherwise leave the military.

Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) definition

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act was passed into law to protect former spouses after their divorce has been finalized. While this Act was written to protect former spouses, it may also make the divorce process even more difficult. Former spouses may be required to satisfy several requirements if they want to receive a portion of their military spouse’s retirement benefits.

USFSPA also protects former spouses who receive child support payments from the military member. If the military member fails to pay their court-ordered child support, this may lead to charges of misconduct.

Why do former spouses need their rights protected?

When military members get married, their spouses may give up their university education or career so they can support the military member on their duty assignments. In the event of a divorce, the former spouse may have no means of financial support after being out of the workforce.

Only those former spouses who meet every qualification may successfully receive monthly payments from the military member’s disposable retired pay. The former spouse’s home state may dictate the percentage of benefits the former spouse may receive.

Does USFSPA permit child support or alimony?

Yes, it does. The Act requires the former spouse to get a court order that requires the military member to pay child support or alimony. The military member has to be identified. They may be required to provide their Social Security Number as well. Under USFSPA, the child support or alimony cannot be more than 65 percent of the military member’s retirement pay.