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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are former spouses of military retirees automatically entitled to a portion of the retirees' retired pay?
    No, there is no Federal law that automatically entitles a former spouse to a portion of a member’s military retired pay. A former spouse must have been awarded a portion of a member’s military retired pay in a State court order. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), Title 10, United States Code, Section 1408, passed in 1981, accomplishes two things. First, it authorizes (but does not require) State courts to divide military retired pay as a marital asset or as community property in a divorce proceeding. Second, it provides a mechanism for a former spouse to enforce a retired pay as property award by direct payments from the member’s retired pay. Retired pay as property payments are prospective only. Retired pay arrears cannot be collected under the USFSPA.