Military Divorce In Florida: Four Things To Know About The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA)
Divorce is difficult. For military members and their spouses, a divorce can be especially challenging. While the law and the process is broadly similar, there are some unique rules and regulations that could affect your rights. A federal law called the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) may impact your case. Here, our Clearwater military divorce lawyer highlights four key things you should know about the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA).
- The USFSPA Allows for the Division of Military Retirement Benefits with a Civilian Spouse
Under the USFSPA, state courts have the authority to divide military retirement pay between the military member and their civilian spouse during a divorce. Prior to the law (1982), state courts actually did not have the authority to divide military benefits in a divorce. In effect, the law allows the civilian spouse to be granted to a portion of the military retirement pay earned during the marriage.
- Ten Years of Marriage and Military Service is Generally Required
In most cases, the civilian spouse is entitled to a portion of the military retirement pay only if the couple has been married for at least ten years and the military member has served for at least ten years during the marriage. Imagine that a couple in Florida was married for five years. One spouse served in the military for three years during the marriage. The USFSPA would likely not allow a Florida divorce court to divide retirement benefits.
- There is No Automatic Right to Benefits for the Non-Military Spouse
It is important to clarify that the USFSPA does not automatically entitle the civilian spouse to a portion of the military retirement pay. Instead, it grants a Florida court the authority to divide military retirement pay if deemed appropriate on the grounds of equitable distribution. In making this decision, the court will consider various factors, including the length of the marriage, the length of the military member’s service, and the contributions of each spouse to the marriage.
- The Law Limits Direct Payment of Benefits to Spouse to 50 Percent of Disposable Pay
The USFSPA limits the amount of military retirement pay that can be directly paid to the civilian spouse to 50 percent of the military member’s disposable pay. Disposable pay is defined as the pay remaining after deducting certain authorized amounts. There is an exception: The amount of “disposable pay” that can be divided can increase to 65 percent in cases involving delinquent child support.
Consult With Our Florida Military Divorce Attorney Today
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Clearwater military divorce lawyer is standing by, ready to help you find the best path forward. If you have any questions about the USFSPA, we are here to help. Contact us right away for a completely confidential, no obligation initial appointment. We provide military divorce representation in Clearwater and throughout Pinellas County.