Military Law

Have military law questions? Ask a military lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer, Get an Answer ASAP!

USFSPA Questions

What is the USFSPPA

Uniformed Services Formers Spouses' Protection Act became a law passed by Congress in 1982 to offer financial protection to former spouses of service members. This act allows the courts to divide military retirement pay as property if there was a divorce or in the case of the service member passes away. It can also allow some ex spouses to be given a share of the retirement benefits through a court order and by direct payment from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service so they can get medical insurance among other benefits. Many people are often unsure who they can ask or where to turn when dealing with USFSPA. Read below where Experts have answered questions pertaining to USFSPA and similar legal issues.

Is it true that a divorced spouse is entitled to half of a former service members retirement pay as indicated on the USFSPA as long as the spouse did not remarry and if they did remarry would the spouse forfeits the retirement pay and benefits?

This is not true. The USFSPA does not address anything dealing with the former spouse getting remarried so even if they did get married to someone else they could still receive up to 50% of the military retirement. The only way they wouldn't receive any of the retirement and benefits is if the divorce decree specifically states that if the spouse was to remarry then they would lose all retirement pay from the former service member.

Would USFSPA apply if someone’s wife who has been married for 16 years and spent 10 and a half years of that in the military and would she still be able to receive the 50% retirement benefits as well?

Regardless of how long a couple is married the USFSPA would apply but does not dictate how much of the retirement benefits they would obtain. The only thing the USFSPA does is it gives state courts the jurisdiction to split military retirement benefits as an asset of marriage.

Is there any other way under the USFSPA that would end payment of retirement benefits other than the passing of a service member?

There are different ways a former spouse could be refused payment under the USFSPA. One being the retired service member changes their retirement and waives it for disability pay. Another way would be if it is noted in a divorce decree. If there are more questions regarding USFSPA contact the military lawyers for your legal question and insight.

Can a civil court force a retired service member to pay arrearages even though the USFSPA states there are no arrearages on military retired pay and also make them pay back pay?

The civil court can order this yes, that being said DFAS will not make the back pay payments. They make payments from the date the order was received so it would be the retiree responsibility to pay off the back pay.
Please type your question in the field below

5 verified Military Lawyers are online now

Military Lawyers on JustAnswer are verified through an extensive 8-step process including screening of licenses, certifications, education and/or employment. Learn more

P. Simmons

Military Lawyer

Doctoral Degree

17688 positive reviews
Allen M., Esq.


Juris Doctor, Cum Laude

6032 positive reviews


Doctoral Degree

2336 positive reviews
See all Military Lawyers