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Ask Lawrence D. Gorin Your Own Question

Lawrence D. Gorin
Lawrence D. Gorin, Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 1507
Experience:  Military & Family Law. 30+ years experience. USFSPA pension division expertise.
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My husband was active duty in the US Army from 1971 to ...

Customer Question

My husband was active duty in the US Army from 1971 to 1976, National Guard from 1976 until roughtly 1980 and then Army Reserve until now. He went dual statis civil service attached to his reserve unit around 1990. He most recently came back from 14 months active duty in Iraq on June 25th 2007. We are going through a divorce now as he is living with another woman. He retires in September. Since he is not providing me the                   information. My question is multi-layered but deals with exactly   what benefits as a former spouse of 37 years I am entitiled to.       Does/can he collect retirement from both civil and reserves, which   is in addtion to Social Security? Do I qualify for part of his pension? I will not have health insurance when i retire in 4 years, can I still be covered under his Tricare? or Where in the new Hampshire area can I find some one to talk to about Military Former Spousal Benefits?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 6 years ago.
ANSWER:
Military divorce,” is defined as a divorce where one of the parties (the "service member") is active duty military, reserve or guard, or retired military. This is not a "legal" term that is recognized within the context of the law, but a lay term used to describe a divorce where one of the parties is a service member (regardless of the member's status).

USFSPA
If you the spouse of a military servicemember contemplating or going through a divorce, you need to be concerned not only with your state laws, but also with a variety of federal laws that will affect you potentially for the rest of your lives. Topping the list is the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA), 10 U.S.C. § 1408. The USFSPA applies to all active duty, reserve/guard, and retired military, the U.S. Coast Guard (and its application is the same regardless of which state court it is in which the divorce occurs).

In general, the USFSPA permits states to award up to 50 percent of the military member's retired pay (or up to 65 percent including court-ordered child support) in a divorce. This does not mean that 50 percent is the maximum award, nor that 50 percent is always awarded. It only means that the finance center will only pay out up to half of the retired pay. The court may award more, which then becomes the responsibility of the service member to pay.

Online text of the law:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode10/usc_sec_10_00001408----000-.html

The USFSPA is somewhat complicated (even to many lawyers). It is intended to provide fairness and equity for a faithful spouse who had loyally supported the military member's career and is now facing divorce. If you are (or soon will be) the former spouse of a servicemeber (whether still active or retired), you will save yourself a lot of time and grief and, even more important to your financial future, money, by educating yourself on this law.

Numerous websites are readily available for “self-education.” Here are a few:
http://www.womansdivorce.com/disability-pay.html
http://www.militarymoney.com/home/1148486970
http://www.divorce-us.com/tp-061030101125.shtml
http://www.militarydivorceonline.com/usfspa.html
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Senate/5050/USFSPA.html
http://www.military.com/Resources/ResourceFileView?file=retirees_retirement_background.htm
http://usmilitary.about.com/od/divorce/Military_Divorce_Separation_Issues.htm
http://www.dfas.mil/
http://www.agd.state.tx.us/retirement-services/supplemental_survivor_benefit_pl.htm
http://www.divorcenet.com/military
http://www.defenselink.mil/militarypay/index.html

You also need to be familiar and conversant with the rules and regs are the
SBP - SURVIVOR BENEFIT PLAN
FAQS:
http://www.dfas.mil/retiredpay/frequentlyaskedquestions/survivorbenefitsplanfaqs/deathdivorceremarriage.html
http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,124699,00.html
http://www.cpms.osd.mil/ASSETS/DE6CC6372C314D8DB6B34734283AACA7/326_rg.pdf http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/advicetestsandpolls/a/SBP_advice.htm

The “Silent Partner” series at the ABA website:
http://www.abanet.org/family/military/silent/mpd_scoutingterrain.pdf
http://www.abanet.org/family/military/silent/mpd_servicemember.pdf
http://www.abanet.org/family/military/silent/mpd_spouse.pdf
http://www.abanet.org/family/military/silent/pension_division.pdf
http://www.abanet.org/family/military/silent/mpd_crdp_crsc.pdf

NOTE (and best legal advice I can give you here): GET A LAWYER. It is extremely important to obtain the services of an experienced divorce lawyer who also has an extensive background in military divorce law. There are many quirks and intricacies of military divorce law that must be mastered by an attorney. A shrewd military divorce lawyer can provide you with invaluable legal advice that could benefit you for the rest of your life.

TRICARE coverage post-divorce
See TriCare FAQs at:
http://www.tricare.mil/faqs/

A former spouse of a retired uniformed service member is eligible for continued medical benefitsif he or she does not remarry (if he or she remarries, the loss of benefits remains applicable even if remarriage ends in death or divorce); is not covered by an employer-sponsored health plan; and must meet the requirements of the “20/20/20” Rule.
Medical benefits are extended to an unremarried former spouse when:
----->1. The parties had been married for at least 20 years;
-----> 2. The member performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retired pay; and
-----> 3. There was at least a 20 year overlap of the marriage and service.

If you qualify for TRICARE coverage based on the requirements listed above, you're covered with the same benefits as a retired family member. Eligibility continues as long as the preceding requirements continue to be met. Note, however, that any medical benefits are suspended while the former spouse is covered by an employer-sponsored health care plan. Moreover, any medical benefits are terminated if the former spouse's should remarry.

Health Plan Options
If you qualify for TRICARE coverage based on the requirements listed above, you're covered with the same benefits as a retired family member, and you have the following health plan options depending on where you live:

* TRICARE Prime
http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/Plans/Prime

* TRICARE Standard and Extra
http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/Plans/StandardExtra

* US Family Health Plan (in specific U.S. locations)
http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/Plans/USFHP

* TRICARE For Life (with Medicare Part A & Part B coverage)
http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/Plans/ForLife

* TRICARE Standard Overseas
http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/Plans/StandardOverseas

Please use your computer mouse (or other highlighting method) to “paint and paste” in order to get to the foregoing website. (They should all work, at least I hope so. And my apologies of any do not.)

OK. Hope this information is what you are looking for.

=========================
---> NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER (“The Fine Print”): The foregoing response is based only on the facts gleaned from your inquiry and does not constitute a definitive legal analysis or evaluation of the facts and circumstances of your particular case and the law applicable thereto. The information provided here should not be the sole basis for your decision(s) regarding the handling or resolution of the legal problem or issue presented. Limitations and restrictions of this forum prevent any claim or guarantee as to the completeness, accuracy or adequacy of the information contained herein and no such claim is made or guarantee given. The foregoing response to your inquiry is not intended to be and should not be accepted as a substitute for the professional legal advice and counsel that can only be given by a lawyer licensed to practice in the state that has jurisdictional authority over the case. I am licensed to practice law only in the state of Oregon. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created by or through the response(s) given here. (Sorry this is so long. But I’m a lawyer, so it should come as no surprise.)

Having answered your question, please acknowledge by clicking the green “ACCEPT” button. Your question will not close, and you will still have the opportunity to follow-up if needed. Also, please add some positive comments in the feedback space. It isn’t required but is most helpful and certainly appreciated. Thank You!

Lawrence D. Gorin, Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 1507
Experience: Military & Family Law. 30+ years experience. USFSPA pension division expertise.
Lawrence D. Gorin and 2 other Military Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Can you recommend any Military Divorce specialists in New Hampshire?
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 6 years ago.

I have no personal knowledge of ANY lawyers in NH, much less those with special expertise in military divorce law.

BUT..... suggest you contact the New Hampshire Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service. Website is:
http://www.nhbar.org/for-the-public/lawyer-referral-services.asp
Telephone:(NNN) NNN-NNNNbr />
http://www.nhdivorce.com/div-faq.htm

http://www.divorceservicesnh.com/

http://www.lawyers.com/Divorce/New-Hampshire/browse-by-city.html

http://www.divorcesource.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php?Cat=&Board=military

http://www.divorcesupport.com/ubbthreads/postlist.php/Cat/0/Board/Military

http://www.divorceinteractive.com/military_divorce.asp

http://www.factscenter.net/law/military-law/military+divorce+law/military+divorce+law.html

http://www.divorcedex.com/divorce/Military-Divorce-949.shtml

Wish I could be of more help, but this is the best I can do from here in Oregon.
Best wishes. Hope all works out to your advantage.

LDG

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