How does the USFSPA (Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act) affect my Virginia divorce?

Posted on Feb 12, 2011 by Katie Carter

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, or USFSPA, was passed in 1982 and gives the state authority to treat military retirement pay as marital property in a military divorce in Virginia. The USFSPA also provides a way for the Department of Defense to enforce court orders that grant you a portion of retired military pay.

While the USFSPA does grant you the opportunity to receive automatic retirement pay benefits, the government regulations regarding military retirement pay can be tricky to understand. By enlisting the help of a Virginia divorce attorney that specializes in military divorce, you have a better chance of fully understanding how the USFSPA affects your military divorce in Virginia.

The USFSPA also affects your military divorce in Virginia by placing limits on the amount of your ex-husband’s military pay you can receive. The USFSPA limits automatic payment to 50% of your ex-husband’s disposable retirement pay. Disposable pay is defined by the military as the military retirement gross pay minus standard deductions.

It’s important to fully understand the USFSPA and all the military stipulations that you must follow to avoid forfeiting your rights. In addition to setting limits on the amount of military retirement pay you can receive after your military divorce in Virginia, the USFSPA also places additional requirements concerning your payments.

To receive automatic payments from the Department of Defense for military retirement pay after your military divorce in Virginia:

  • your marriage must have lasted for at least 10 years; and
  • your husband must have performed at least 10 years of active duty during your marriage.

You may still have the right to a portion of the retirement pay even if you don’t meet these qualifications but the method in which you receive the payment will differ.

The USFSPA grants former spouses the right to receive automatic payments for military retirement pay, which you can take advantage of by completing an application and adhering to military regulations. Consider talking about your situation with a Virginia divorce attorney who has experience with USFSPA regulations and knows how it can affect your military divorce in Virginia.

Contacting a Virginia Divorce Attorney

Throughout your divorce proceedings, you’ll naturally have a lot of questions specific to your circumstances. Get your questions answered by requesting one of our FREE divorce guides for women, or reserving your seat at our monthly divorce seminar – 757-210-9870.

The Virginia divorce attorneys at Hofheimer Family Law Firm are committed to fighting for your rights, assisting in child custody disputes and advocating that you receive everything you are entitled to and need in order to start your new life.