Military Benefits for Former Spouses: Legislation and Policy Issues
Congressional Research Service Washington United States
Pagination or Media Count:
In 1981, the Supreme Court ruled that the former spouse of a military member or retiree could not be awarded any share of that membersretirees retired pay as a part of a divorce property settlement in a community property state. In response, Congress enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act USFSPA in 1982. Under the USFSPA, state courts can treat disposable military retired pay as divisible property in divorce cases. However, state laws may vary on these concepts. The USFSPA makes no assumption of such a division nor does it presume how much of a division should be made. In addition to possible receipt of retired pay, certain former spouses would remain eligible to receive certain military benefits or privileges. The USFSPA has since been modified on a number of occasions.