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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 18811
Experience:  Lawyer and current JAG officer.
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When I retired in 2002 my spouse had to sign a form that

Customer Question

When I retired in 2002 my spouse had to sign a form that said he agreed to my election not to enroll in the survivor benefits plan. So SBP was never on the "table". However, the uniform spouses protection act allows states to treat retirement as community, if the court so desires, and awards it according to a formula. The divorce decree says that formula applies until such time as I die or he dies whichever happens first.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I’m happy to be of assistance.

I'm not sure what your question is, but I wanted to address what it appears to be and then you can ask a follow up if I don't touch on it.

The Survivors Benefit Plan and military retirement are two different things. While a court can technically require that a former spouse be granted access to both, that can only be true if the SBP is on the table.

Now, you stated that your former spouse signed something saying that the SBP is not on the table. Well, all that means is that they can't get the SBP then and that has no bearing on a division of military retirement.

So, what is the difference?

Military retirement is only paid to a former spouse while you are alive. So, if your former spouse received a portion of the military retirement, that would only pay to him as long as both he lives and you live. This is because when he dies his right ends and when you die the retirement ends.

That appears to be exactly what your divorce decree says,.....paying out until either you die or he dies...whichever happens first. That is entirely consistent with only paying out military retirement.

With SBP, he would have continued to receive the payments for his entire life, no matter when you died, because SBP takes over payments when the military retiree dies. That is not taking place here, because SBP wasn't on the table and that is exactly what your divorce decree appears to recognize.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 11 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required.

If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.

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