The Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act

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Annapolis Military Family Lawyers Defend the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act

Changes in the USFSPA can complicate Maryland divorces

The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) was enacted in 1983, and is a law that governs how former spouses of military personnel receive spousal support. Prior to 2017, a spouse who sought a divorce from a service member was likely entitled to an interest in the servicemember’s military retired pay and, in these cases, was entitled to an increase in the percentage of that interest as that member advanced throughout the military.

In December of 2016, all of that changed. Now, the law reads that “in the case of a division of military retired pay as property that becomes final prior to the service-member’s retirement, the service-member’s disposable income is limited to retired pay that is based on the high-3 pay of the servicemember at divorce.” This means that, even though a spouse has presumably supported a servicemember during that person’s rise up, the percentage of the interest he or she is entitled to regarding the servicemember’s military retired pay is functionally frozen based on the rank and pay tables in effect at the date of divorce.

If your life has been forever changed because of a military divorce, you need competent legal representation to protect your interests and your family. The seasoned Annapolis military divorce attorneys of Peters & Clark, P.A. are equipped to represent you and your family’s best interests.

How the USFSPA affects Maryland military divorces

The USFSPA authorized states to divide military retired pay under certain conditions. Federal law does not provide an automatic right for the former spouse of a military member to receive any portion of the service member’s retirement pay, regardless of how long the couple was married. Property division laws in the state where the divorce takes place govern the amount of the award.

Military retirement pay will be divided as a marital asset in an equitable division state and the award must be expressed as either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of disposable retired pay (gross retired pay less allowable deductions).

Get clarity on the implications of USFSPA from a qualified Annapolis military family lawyer

Because of the new changes and the original complexity of the old law, you will need to consult with an experienced Annapolis military divorce lawyer to understand the full expression of your rights as a servicemember or a former spouse of a servicemember. Peters & Clark, P.A., offers military clients in Anne Arundel County and throughout Maryland the experience and thorough representation they deserve to help ensure they are protected and their rights preserved throughout their divorce proceedings. To reserve a consultation time, please call 410-921-2422 or fill out the firm’s contact form.

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