What Is the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act?

Military divorce has many factors and laws at play that differ greatly from civilian divorce. Both the military member and their family will have many questions as to how their divorce affects certain benefits given to them due to the military member’s service. Texas residents who serve or have served in the military are afforded certain benefits. Most of those benefits continue despite the complex divorce, but some military benefits are subject to division.

For example, the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act can come into effect after a divorce. This act allows state divorce courts to split a portion of a veteran’s pay between him or her and his or her spouse if the Texas court deems doing so to be appropriate. Sometimes, ex-husbands or ex-wives can receive some of a veteran’s pension in the form of a cash payment. Others may be entitled to benefits like military-medical. Ex-spouses may also be eligible for benefits under the Survivor Benefit Plan. If the ex is a victim of spousal or child abuse, there could be additional benefits.

This is not a guarantee of military benefits to ex-spouses of service members. It does not require Texas courts to divide the pension or benefits of the retired service member. It simply gives the court the option to divide these assets if they deem it appropriate. Each case of military divorce is different and should be examined carefully in order to determine how military assets and benefits will be divided, if at all.

Military divorces are known to be a complex endeavor. It is important to understand Texas family law and military law in order to analyze the divorce properly. Benefits and assets related to military service are not anyone’s absolute right. The division of benefits will all be decided by the court.

Source: militaryonesource.mil, “Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act for divorced spouses in the military,” Accessed Oct. 6, 2014

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