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Thread: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

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    Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Does anyone have any current information regarding the changing or repeal of the USFSPA? Who are the "front running activists" aginst this outdated Act? I have searched the internet and mostly what I find is legal descriptions on the law. The latest info concerning the repeal of the law are a year or older.
    It also seems from what I have been reading, the state courts do not even understand this law. State courts do not HAVE to split retired pay. The law just gives them authroity to do so. There is a difference.

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Quote Originally Posted by SeenItAll View Post
    Does anyone have any current information regarding the changing or repeal of the USFSPA? Who are the "front running activists" aginst this outdated Act? I have searched the internet and mostly what I find is legal descriptions on the law. The latest info concerning the repeal of the law are a year or older.
    It also seems from what I have been reading, the state courts do not even understand this law. State courts do not HAVE to split retired pay. The law just gives them authroity to do so. There is a difference.
    What would you like to see it changed to?

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Measure Man View Post
    What would you like to see it changed to?
    1. Here are some changes that I would make:

    a. USFSPA should order the divorce courts to look at military retirement pay as income. Military retirement pay should not be considered as property by state divorce courts. If a former military spouse needs "protection", then the state divorce courts can award her alimony and/or child support. USFSPA should continue to allow alimony and/or child support to be garnished from military retirement pay, i.e. sent directly from DFAS to the ex-spouse.

    b. Additionally, USFSPA should state that any and all civilian retirement accounts (401k, TSP, IRA, etc) earned by a military spouse are not to be considered marital property or community property. In other words, any and all civilian retirement accounts (401k, TSP, IRA, etc) earned by a military spouse should be the sole property of the military spouse. I do understand just how radical that proposal sounds, but if life for the working military spouse is really as tough as everyone says it is, then why should a military service member be allowed, in a divorce, to claim co-ownership of the civilian retirement accounts (401k, TSP, IRA, etc) that were earned by his or her military spouse?

    3. Questions to ponder - Should those military spouses who have never been the primary caregiver of the children of military service members be given the same protections under the USFSPA as those military spouses who are or were the primary caregiver of the children of military service members? If the answer is "yes", then why?

    4. The current version of USFSPA is a form of legislative hocus pocus that has changed income into property. A retirement from the military doesn't really have any of the characteristics of property.

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Quote Originally Posted by USN - Retired View Post
    1. Here are some changes that I would make:

    a. USFSPA should order the divorce courts to look at military retirement pay as income. Military retirement pay should not be considered as property by state divorce courts. If a former military spouse needs "protection", then the state divorce courts can award her alimony and/or child support. USFSPA should continue to allow alimony and/or child support to be garnished from military retirement pay, i.e. sent directly from DFAS to the ex-spouse.

    b. Additionally, USFSPA should state that any and all civilian retirement accounts (401k, TSP, IRA, etc) earned by a military spouse are not to be considered marital property or community property. In other words, any and all civilian retirement accounts (401k, TSP, IRA, etc) earned by a military spouse should be the sole property of the military spouse. I do understand just how radical that proposal sounds, but if life for the working military spouse is really as tough as everyone says it is, then why should a military service member be allowed, in a divorce, to claim co-ownership of the civilian retirement accounts (401k, TSP, IRA, etc) that were earned by his or her military spouse?

    3. Questions to ponder - Should those military spouses who have never been the primary caregiver of the children of military service members be given the same protections under the USFSPA as those military spouses who are or were the primary caregiver of the children of military service members? If the answer is "yes", then why?

    4. The current version of USFSPA is a form of legal hocus pocus that has changed income into property. A retirement from the military doesn't really have any of the characteristics of property.
    I would like to see the law come up with an "approximate value" of the military retirement for the servicemembers rank and years in service...

    ...and then allow the courts to treat that value as if it were in a 401K or other account, and award the spouse an appropriate cash value rather than this lifelong payment thing.

    For example...say and E-6 with 12 years in...his retirement "value" might equate to say...$60K. So, the judge may order him to pay his spouse $30K of that $60K. (obviously since he doesn't actually have it in cash, a payment plan may be needed)...but then once he's done, he's done.

    This would protect the spouse from future misconduct of the servicemember...(like say a divorced Colonel who rapes his secretary and loses his retirement...both for himself and his ex-wife's portion). It would also not have the spouse benefitting from the future service of the member (i.e. that TSgt gets commissioned, does 30 more years and retires as a colonel, when she was only there for the TSgt part).

    I don't think this scheme would be inconsistent with the rest of the US laws regarding property distribution at the time of divorce.

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Measure Man View Post
    I would like to see the law come up with an "approximate value" of the military retirement for the servicemembers rank and years in service...

    ...and then allow the courts to treat that value as if it were in a 401K or other account, and award the spouse an appropriate cash value rather than this lifelong payment thing.

    For example...say and E-6 with 12 years in...his retirement "value" might equate to say...$60K. So, the judge may order him to pay his spouse $30K of that $60K. (obviously since he doesn't actually have it in cash, a payment plan may be needed)...but then once he's done, he's done.

    This would protect the spouse from future misconduct of the servicemember...(like say a divorced Colonel who rapes his secretary and loses his retirement...both for himself and his ex-wife's portion). It would also not have the spouse benefitting from the future service of the member (i.e. that TSgt gets commissioned, does 30 more years and retires as a colonel, when she was only there for the TSgt part).

    I don't think this scheme would be inconsistent with the rest of the US laws regarding property distribution at the time of divorce.
    So what happens if the former military spouse dies before she receives all of her cut of the military retirement? Would her heirs inherit her future share of the military retirement? In other words, would your plan provide the former military spouse with property rights to her share of the military retirement, i.e. the right to leave to her heirs her cut of the military retirement that she has not yet received? Would the retired military service member have any such right under your proposal?

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Quote Originally Posted by USN - Retired View Post
    So what happens if the former military spouse dies before she receives all of her cut of the military retirement? Would her heirs inherit her future share of the military retirement? In other words, would your plan provide the former military spouse with property rights to her share of the military retirement, i.e. the right to leave to her heirs her cut of the military retirement that she has not yet received? Would the retired military service member have any such right under your proposal?
    Hadn't thought of that part...but yes, I would assume it would pass to her heirs...why not?

    My wife got half her first husband's 401K...what should happen to that money when she dies?

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    A former spouse in my opinion should not be allowed any percentage of the retirement. Can I reach out and touch her retirement from a civilian source? No I cannot. It is income not property. Solution, to be eligible for any retirement the former spouse should have to prove the divorce was caused by the service member. Deployments and service do not count on that as it is Army directed. If the service member was unfaithful or abusive then yeah he/she earned it and that member deserves to lose it. Other than that it is a rule made by a lawmaker that got bedded down with somebodys wife/husband and wanted some cash.

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Quote Originally Posted by squidnut View Post
    A former spouse in my opinion should not be allowed any percentage of the retirement. Can I reach out and touch her retirement from a civilian source? No I cannot.
    Uhm...yes, you can.

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Quote Originally Posted by squidnut View Post
    A former spouse in my opinion should not be allowed any percentage of the retirement. Can I reach out and touch her retirement from a civilian source? No I cannot. It is income not property. Solution, to be eligible for any retirement the former spouse should have to prove the divorce was caused by the service member. Deployments and service do not count on that as it is Army directed. If the service member was unfaithful or abusive then yeah he/she earned it and that member deserves to lose it. Other than that it is a rule made by a lawmaker that got bedded down with somebodys wife/husband and wanted some cash.
    Not only should the former spouse have to prove that the divorce was caused by the service member, the spouse should have to prove that they were SUPPORTIVE of the service member's career! My ex bitched and bitched and bitched. If I had to work late, he bitched. If I had to go TDY, he bitched. He made my life miserable, because I did what I signed up to do. For almost 20 years, he bitched and bitched about my military commitments, never participated in holiday parties, Dining Outs, any unit functions. And he should get half of my retirement? I don't think so. He didn't, I retired with disability, but oh, he so could have!

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    Re: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA)

    Oh boy...........................here we go.
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