Military Retirement Plan Attorneys and QDRO Specialists

The USFSPA Has Its Own Set Of Rules

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) went into effect in 1983 and allows a former military spouse to receive a portion of his or her ex-spouse's military retired pay, via a court order. There are many restrictions on this system and several ways in which a military member can inadvertently or purposefully prevent his or her ex-spouse from receiving this benefit. If you do not understand how the USFSPA works, there may be problems when the military member retires.

At QDRO Preparations, LLC, we work regularly with family law attorneys who represent members of the military and their spouses. We understand the many twists and turns military retirement plans can take and how to draft a military pension division order (MPDO) correctly so each party receives what he or she was promised in the divorce decree.

Restrictions On Division Of Military Pensions

The USFSPA controls the division of military retired pay in a divorce. Unlike civilian retirement plans, there are several restrictions imposed on military pensions as marital property, including:

  • A former spouse is only eligible for up to 50 percent of a service member's disposable retirement pay, not the entire amount of his or her retirement pay.
  • A couple must have been married for at least 10 years, with the military member's service concurrent with those 10 years, (known as the 10/10 rule) for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) to distribute payment directly to the former spouse. Otherwise the former spouse may not be eligible to receive payments.
  • If a military member is discharged before he or she has served 20 years, neither party is eligible to receive the promised pension.
  • Military benefits end with the death of the service member. For a former spouse to continue to receive benefits, he or she must be designated the beneficiary of a Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and this must be done within a year of the divorce for it to take effect.

Instead of wading through the many restrictions and considerations that come with a military pension plan by yourself, work with our lawyers to ensure your MPDO is done right. We craft each MPDO so that it fits your client's unique situation and covers all of the requirements under the USFSPA.

Do Not Let Your Clients' Futures Be Affected By Mistakes In The MPDO

Call us at 205-704-2701 or contact us online to talk with us about your clients' needs.