Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act

Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) Lawyers in San Antonio

Caring representation for the ex-spouses of military servicemembers in South Texas

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal law that helps former spouses of military members receive some benefits, such as a portion of the military member’s retirement pay, medical care, and exchange and commissary benefits. The USFSPA has precise requirements for obtaining military pay and other benefits. Our skilled family lawyers understand these requirements and work to ensure former spouses receive these benefits.

At Grable Grimshaw, PLLC, our San Antonio family lawyers handle aspects of family law including divorce, property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance on behalf of servicemembers. Our San Antonio USFSPA lawyers understand when and how spouses have a right to a servicemember’s military pay. Let us help.

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What general provisions does the USFSPA authorize?

According to Military One Source (a US Defense Department website), the USPSPA:

  • Gives state courts the authority to divide disposable military retired pay between a servicemember and his/her spouse
  • Gives former spouses the right to receive some of the military servicemember’s pay, in some situations, directly from the government
  • Grants some former spouses “access to health care at military treatment facilities” and to military exchanges and commissaries
  • Grants victims of spousal or child abuse some benefits

Military One Source also states that the USPSA does not:

  • “Require” that courts divide military retired pay
  • Have a formula for dividing military retired pay
  • “Award a predetermined share of military retired pay to former spouses”
  • “Place a ceiling on the percentage of disposable retired pay that may be awarded”
  • Require that there be an overlap of the marriage and the military services to award a division military retired pay as property

How is military retirement pay handled?

The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act provides that a court, such as a San Antonio family court, cannot treat a military member’s retirement pay as the property of the servicemember and his/her spouse unless “the court has jurisdiction over the servicemember based on the servicemember’s:

  • Residence other than because of military assignment
  • Domicile
  • Consent to the court’s jurisdiction”

When and how can a military member’s pay be paid directly to a spouse?

For a court to order that a military servicemember’s retirement pay be paid to a former spouse, there must be a court order or a property settlement order, and “only if the final order specifically provides that payment is to be made from disposable retired pay for one of the following family law matters:”

  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Division of retired pay as property, provided that the former spouse was “married to the member for 10 years or more, during which time the member performed 10 years or more of creditable service, and the order expresses payment in dollars or a percentage of the member’s disposable retired pay.” The order for direct payments will cease whenever the spouse or retired military member dies or the terms of the court order are completed – whichever comes first.
Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) Lawyers

How does a former military spouse request direct retirement pay?

Our San Antonio USPSPA lawyers advise spouses on the requirements for obtaining their direct pay. We’ll prepare the documents, review the documents with the former spouse, and submit the documents to the appropriate officials. The following items must be sent to the “designated agent of the member’s uniformed service:”

  • A signed Department of Defense Form 2293, “Application for Former Spouse Payments from Retired Pay”
  • A copy of the court order authorizing the direct payment of a portion of the military member’s retirement pay
  • Additional documents that “provide for payment of child support, alimony or division of property, certified by an official of the issuing court within the previous 90 days”

The notification to the DOD official can be sent by regular mail, email, fax, or certified mail.

The US Department of Defense Finance and Accounting Service Office should, within 30 days:

  • Send written notice to your ex-spouse (the member of the military) at his/her last known address
  • Review any response received from the servicemember
  • Deny the request for direct payments if the requirements aren’t met
  • Not honor a court order if the order is “shown to be defective, modified, superseded or set aside.”

The DoD Defense Finance and Accounting Service should, within 90 days, make a direct payment to the spouse and inform him/her of the amount to be paid or inform the spouse why the court order was not honored.

How does the USFSPA affect a survivor benefit plan designation?

The USFSPA provides that a former spouse “can be designated as a Survivor Benefit Plan beneficiary if the spouse was previously listed as a spouse beneficiary” and given the following factors are considered:

  • Voluntary or court-ordered designation.
  • Divorce after retirement: The former spouse’s coverage will be the same amount as the spouse’s coverage.
  • Divorce before retirement: The specific coverage level should be directed by court order.
  • Former spouse remarriage before age 55: Eligibility as a beneficiary is lost unless the remarriage ends, and then eligibility is restored.

Do you have a USFSPA lawyer near me?

Grable Grimshaw, PLLC, meets the spouses and former spouses of military members, and military members, at our office located at 1603 Babcock Rd Suite 280. Our San Antonio USFSPA lawyers do conduct remote conferences through video by appointment.

Our family lawyers help negotiate and litigate family law orders. We also work to ensure the terms of family law orders are honored.

Talk to a respected San Antonio USFSPA attorney today

There are many times when the only way for a military servicemember to meet the terms of a spousal property division order, child support order, or spousal maintenance order is to use his/her retirement pay. At Grable Grimshaw PLLC, our San Antonio USFSPA lawyers work to obtain strong family orders and to ensure that the terms of those orders are satisfied. Call our San Antonio office or fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation to assert your right to military retirement pay from your spouse.