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The maximum that can be paid to a former spouse under the USFSPA is 50 percent of a member's disposable retired pay. In cases where there are payments both under the USFSPA and pursuant to a garnishment for child support or alimony under 42 U.S.C. 659, the total amount payable cannot exceed 65 percent of the member's disposable earnings for garnishment purposes.
Disposable retired pay is gross retired pay less authorized deductions. The authorized deductions depend on the effective date of the parties’ divorce, dissolution, annulment or legal separation. If the date was on or after February 3, 1991, the authorized deductions are:
If a former spouse was awarded a percentage of a member’s disposable retired pay, changes in the member’s authorized deductions will result in a change in the amount the former spouse receives.
Percentage awards will automatically receive a proportionate share of the member’s cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), but COLAs are not available for fixed dollar amount awards, even if COLAs were awarded in the court order.
The right to payments under the USFSPA terminates upon the death of the member or former spouse, unless the applicable court order provides that the payments terminate earlier.
Updated: April 1, 2011