Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act

Houston Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act Lawyers

Serving Military Individuals and Families in Texas

State laws as applied by family court judges determine how marital property and debt division will be decided in a divorce. It doesn’t matter whether those divorces are among military or civilian couples. In Texas, marital assets and debts are subject to the rule of community property where each party generally is awarded a 50-50 split in the division or as close to it as is deemed fair by the court. However, the issue is also subject to federal law in how the portions of retirement pay are paid out to the spouses after a Texas divorce. That law is called the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act or USFSPA. If you need legal help handling an issue regarding the payment of retirement pay to you or your former spouse, you can turn to our skilled attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC where we can apply our many years of knowledge and experience to your case. Our legal team is honored to be able to provide dedicated legal representation to servicemembers of all branches of the military.

Let us provide the capable legal representation you need concerning your military family law matter. Contact our Houston attorneys at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC at (281) 810-9760 or through our online contact form for a free consultation.

What Does the USFSPA Have to Do With Retirement Pay After Divorce?

After serving in a military branch for a period of 20 years or longer, servicemembers are eligible for military retirement pay. This is not a pension fund with sums of money in it but money paid out to the servicemember based on a percentage of his or her basic pay. Currently, various retirement pay systems exist in the military depending on when service was started. Veterans who retire with honorable discharges are allowed to receive the full pay of what they are owed upon retirement.

The USFSPA does not automatically grant the right to a former spouse to receive a portion of this retirement pay after a divorce. Only the state courts have that right. The USFSPA acknowledges that state courts have the right to distribute retirement pay to spouses or former spouses as determined in the divorce settlement court order. The USFSPA also includes a way to enforce these court orders as well as court orders that include child support and spousal support awards. Once the state court has awarded a portion of a servicemember’s retirement pay to a former spouse, the court can then order that portion be paid through the Defense Finance and Accountable Services (DFAS).

The division of military retirement pay can range from zero up to 50 percent of the disposable pay, all at the discretion of the court. The portion cannot exceed 50 percent. The USFSPA also has requirements that must be met for the direct payment of that portion to a former spouse. This only occurs when the DFAS is presented with a valid court order awarding the former spouse his or her portion of the pay as part of a marital property division. A valid court order that outlines an award for child support or alimony can also result in payment to the former spouse through the DFAS.

Portions of military retired pay as part of a property division is only allowed to be paid directly by the DFAS if the marriage in question had a duration of at least 10 years and the servicemember served in the military for at least 10 years. If those circumstances do not prevail, the former spouse can only get his or her share of the retired pay as property by being paid directly by the servicemember as opposed to the DFAS. Retired pay shares will stop being paid when the servicemember dies.

Need Legal Advocacy in a Military Family Law Matter?

If you need legal advocacy from a Houston Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act attorney, we urge you to reach out to our competent and caring legal team. We are here to devote ourselves to military divorce property division matters as well as any other family law issue that is impacting you as a military service member such as child support and custody, or alimony. Our team is dedicated to helping you win the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact us at (281) 810-9760 or online to get started today.

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